Primitive Man, Insurmountable (Closed Casket Activities 2022)

Denver doom trio Primitive Man raise massive cliffs of new music on Insurmountable.

Primitive Man took a big swing at the jump with their debut full-length album Scorn in 2013. Since then they have been laying down split after split, demos and EPs, and two more long-players, Caustic (2017) and Immersion (2020). They are not letting any moss grow here. Primitive Man – Ethan Lee McCarthy (guitar and vocals), Jonathan Campos (bass), and Joe Linden (drums) – are a force to be reckoned with.

The new record has three original songs and a cover. “This Life” begins on catastrophic riffs at funeral doom speed. Absolutely pulverizing, but without the implied hopelessness you might expect at this tempo. Don’t get me wrong – it is not encouraging. It is still animate. It speeds up a little here and there but not much. This doom is measured. “Boiled” offers ambient weirdness and disturbances.

“Cage Intimacy” squeals and scratches and writhes. The first vocals are as dark as dark gets. It is a grim giant moving about unaware of the smashing it is doing. Rabid black metal breaks out for a time, then the noise takes over. By the time the doom returns the damage is done. The final cut is “Quiet,” the cover of a Smashing Pumpkins song. It is taken to new heights with Primitive Man at the helm. This is the doom treatment we always knew that song needed.

I saw a live set at The Monkey House in Winooski, Vermont a couple days ago. I’ll pop a couple of photos here, and there is a separate article coming out in a few days about that show with many more photos of Primitive Man and the other bands. Their performance was massively heavy, and the show balanced the music nicely, alternating between doom, death metal, and other adventures.

Insurmountable is out now through Closed Casket Activities. Pick up the new EP, and see Primitive Man on tour now supported by Mortiferum, Jarhead Fertilizer, Body Void, and Elizabeth Colour Wheel. Check out the tour poster below for upcoming cities, dates, and supporting band roster.

Live photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://primitivemandoom.bandcamp.com/

Website, https://www.primitivemandoom.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/primitivemandoom

Closed Casket Activities, https://closedcasketactivities.com/

The Monkey House, https://www.monkeyhousevt.com/calendar/

© Wayne Edwards

Primitive Man, Insurmountable (Closed Casket Activities 2022)

Gatecreeper, An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities 2021)

Desert Death Metal force of nature Gatecreeper release and incredible set that shows you how to do it fast and how to do it slow.

Hailing from Arizona, Gatecreeper has been creating music since 2014. Their first EP was the self-title release in that early year, and it landed a tight four songs with harrowing bravado. The pounding rhythm and powerfully insistent vocals were a sign and a statement. It was mid-tempo Death Metal with great hooks, and there was no mistaking the possibilities. Two years later Sonoran Depravation came out and warped musical reality. Many splits and singles have come to pass in the intervening years, plus a live album and the amazing sophomore full-length, Deserted in 2019. They have been throwing down the metal day after day.

The new EP is titled aptly as it is a direction that was not predictable. Separated into a “fast side” and a “slow side,” this is a Janus faced masterpiece. There are seven short songs on the fast side, and by short I mean some of them are less than one minute long with one clocking in at 31 seconds. There is a very hardcore punk attitude in these pieces but at the same time the Gatecreeper sound and hook is in their too, unmistakably.

The slow side is one eleven-minute Doom infused bone crusher, “Emptiness.” The band has never done a song like this before, and we can say the same about the short songs – even though they have a lot hard hitting short pieces in their catalogue, they are nothing like the fast side songs here. The combination of these two completely different elements that are also new to the work of the band to this point is a bold move, and one that pays off astronomically. Highly recommended.

An Unexpected Reality is out now from Closed Casket Activities. Most of the vinyl has sold out at last look, including the second pressings. The CD is still available, and of course the digital. You can get these at Bandcamp, etc.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/album/an-unexpected-reality

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/gatecreeper

Closed Casket Activities, https://closedcasketactivities.com/collections/cd/products/gatecreeper-an-unexpected-reality-1

Gatecreeper, An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities 2021)

Xibalba, Años En Infierno review (Southern Lord 2020)

California cataclysmists Xibalba are back with their fourth full-length release, Años En Infierno, and it is one to bring the house down.

From their home in southern California, Nate Rebolledo, Brian Ortiz, and Jason Brunes have come together again to sow ruin on the path before them. Their music is described on the band’s Facebook page as Death Metal / Doom / Hardcore – all those fit. Their catalogue up to the release of this new one shows a propensity for the tonal low end with crushing doom riffs transitioning to full speed death passages that touch on thrash. The result is a full force aural benison that shows you everything and lets you live. With more than a decade of experience under their belts, the new album fulfills the promise of their earlier music and works an even finer musical balance.

“La Injusticia” starts the set off with a message of violence and a thirst for revenge. Pummeling guitars and percussion make the case that no quarter is to be had throughout. An instrumental interlude follows (with vocalizations), and then the hypertensive “Santa Muerte” roars into your ears. Speed is king, interspersed with heavy hammer falls, and then another instrumental, “Saka.” The album takes a turn after the first four songs toward an outright volcanic explosion – rather like the glowing pyramid depicted on the cover. Two raging chaotic storms lead to the finale, “El Abismo I” and “El Abismo II.” In some ways invoking the masterful “El Vacio” from their earlier album Tierra Y Libertad, this closing epic in two parts is darker and more … upsetting. In the first part, melodic vocals about forests of blight where souls come to die are crushed and ground to dust by thunderous interjections. The soft voice comes back, only to be crushed again. There is a message here. At least I heard one anyway. The second part starts with aggression and loud anger before turning somewhat reflective, and even cosmic. A journey is described in the music, one of the soul and of the mind. It is an excellent way to close this volume of the band’s music, wrapping up the range style and expression that make the whole. Recommended.

Años En Infierno is available now in hardcopy at Southern Lord, and digitally at Bandcamp. It is streaming all over, too. Other Xibalba merch can be had at Closed Casket Activities. If you want physical copies of anything you better get on it while you can.

Links.

http://www.facebook.com/placeoffear

https://xibalbasl.bandcamp.com

http://southernlord.bandcamp.com

https://closedcasketactivities.com/

Xibalba, Años En Infierno review (Southern Lord 2020)