I haven’t heard any of Germany’s Arroganz before, but this represents full length album number four since their first in 2011, and it’s clear that the trio of K (Bass, Vocals), P (Guitar) and T (Drums) know what they’re doing. (Actually, this represents album number five if you include the split album from 2015).

Right off the bat, “Primitiv” lets you know that you’re not in for any kind of easy listening experience, as “Pilgrim” blasts out of the speakers with all the panache of a Millwall fan fed solely on a diet of Stella and Skittles. In the basic ferocity of the attack, with extremely fuzzy guitars and a truly monstrous bottom end, I immediately started to characterise this as primitive death metal, yet the cavernous production and sheer unrelenting aggression hinted at blacker climates. Then, the whole thing slowed to an immense crawl; a doomed flail through some stygian hellscape.

“Obliviate” takes on that mantle, with leaden riffing, soaked in reverb and screaming bouncing from the walls in the cave. Around halfway through the seven and a half minute track, the whole thing pushes itself onto its haunches and erupts into an obscene lurch, at once equal parts Morbid Tales and some obscure Winter EP that no one has ever heard before. “Strait Paths & Grave Walls” continues in similar veins, except this time with a hint of dark eighties rock somehow jangling through the impossibly dense extreme metal. If you ever wanted to know what early Cure would sound like if played by the folks in Gruesome, this is some way of explaining the weird mashup of styles.

“Another God, dead” is perhaps the closest to a traditional metal song on the album, taking some swaggering, groove laden riffs and then smashing them straight into Angelcorpse styled bouts of tightly focussed fury. “Cortege” has a neat dissonance happening behind the rebounding bass, while closer “Sepulchural Cold” is the closest thing to a black metal number on the album, again with some really neat and quite subtle Celtic Frost influences creeping into the main riff. Frankly, I don’t mind that riff from “Circle of the Tyrants” being in more songs, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Primitiv is a bit of a misleading album title; while this has the superficial sound of a band that’s going for the bludgeoning approach, there’s a whole hidden layer of influences here dying to be heard and explored among the bombast and violence. Personally, I’d rather listen to something that’s as rewarding – if challenging – as this over something more easily digestible. Enjoyable stuff.

(8/10 Chris Davison)