Denver’s PRIMITIVE MAN’s music matches its name: a savage, sparse mix of death metal, blackened noise, and doom riffs. The threepiece was formed in February of 2012 by Ethan Lee McCarthy, Jonathan Campos, and Bennet Kennedy (all current and former members of Vermin Womb, Withered, Clinging To The Trees of A Forest Fire, Death of Self and Reproacher). In October of 2012 the band recorded their debut LP Scorn at Flatline Audio with Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Cobalt, Catheter, CTTTOAFF). Scorn was released a collaboration between Throatruiner and Mordgrimm Records. After the release of Scorn, the band parted ways with Kennedy and recruited Isidro "Spy" Soto to take over on drums. The band also self-released a three-song EP in February titled P/M.
The unique metal hybridization of Scorn caught the attention of Relapse, who liked the record enough to sign the band and reissue the full-length in summer 2013. Dubbed a "totally malignant sounding record and one that will consume you whole if you’re not careful,” by Cvlt Nation and called “the best worst thing that has ever happened to you,” in an 8/10 review from Metal Hammer, Scorn found PRIMITIVE MAN celebrating a slow-roasted apocalypse through seven suffocating hymns of hatred, disease and sonic deviance. The record put the band on the map for many listeners, and enabled PRIMITIVE MAN to embark on a relentless touring schedule that would soon see the band playing live shows across the US and Europe (often for the vast majority of the year) in company with acts such as Hexis, Reproacher, Fister, Celeste, Opium Lord, and Mammoth Grinder. PRIMITIVE MAN also played Denver Black Sky in 2013 alongside Relapse brethren Dying Fetus, Exhumed, Skinless, Iron Reagan, Call of the Void, and Weekend Nachos.
All of Ethan McCarthy’s projects have been prolific, and PRIMITIVE MAN is no exception – the band released four splits between 2013 and 2015, and dropped another bombshell of nihility in 2015 with its Relapse EP Home Is Where The Hatred Is. The EP was well-received by publications including Metal Injection, MetalSucks, Revolver, and Exclaim!, the latter of who stated, “unapologetically bleak and permeated by loathing and hostility, Home Is Where The Hatred Is will either leave you wanting more or contemplating teetering off a ledge.” Despite their primeval, bludgeoning approach, PRIMITIVE MAN wouldn’t exist without their savage awareness of modern humanity: simultaneously old and new, atavistic and groundbreaking, PRIMITIVE MAN stands to redefine current conceptions of hope, faith, and metal music.
» -(16)- (US) (Sludge Metal)
June 1996, issue #31 of Terrorizer Magazine. It’s insane to think of it like that, but some of our youngest readers of today (all ye fourteen year olds back there, raise a hand) might not even have been born when that issue came out. Yet, always light-years ahead of its time, our fine rag already displayed the finest taste possible. On page 54, among reviews of The 3rd And The Mortal, Slapshot or Sweet Pea, a little band by the name of 16 stood out, with the CD and inlay cover of its new album tastefully decorating Chad Hensley’s wise words about ‘Drop Out’. “There is absolutely no doubt that this crew of dope smoking, skateboarding, beer drinking hoodlums will soon overpower the world with their open-wound roar,” our Chad said, slapping it with a four and a half out of five rating.
You’d think that, wouldn’t you? ‘Curves That Kick’, released three years earlier, had been a good start, but ‘Drop Out’ was 16’s coming of age. It’s a monster album, unbelievably heavy, angst-ridden in its don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, yet still infectious in that repeated-listening way that fewer and fewer albums are still able to enrapture us these days. I discovered 16 with that album, and since then I have made it a personal mission to subject each and every friend, be they into extreme music or not, to 'Drop Out'. And it's usually a success. Fourteen years later, it’s aged stupendously and effortlessly maintains all of its charm, with that added comfort bonus of us unashamed fanboys knowing every single note of it by heart. How could they not overpower the world with this kind of music? Especially in 1996, when there weren’t really all that many bands comparable to 16? Yet, after the not-as-good-as-but-still-okay ‘Blaze Of Incompetence’, the awesome, even if done by a dying band and criminally ignored worldwide ‘Zo|oft Smile’, a five year split, a triumphant return (on their 16th anniversary, life does work well sometimes) with the "classic" line-up celebrated with a contract on Relapse, of all labels, and followed by their best album (‘Drop Out’ excluded) ‘Bridges To Burn’, 16 are still an obscure cult thing to a lot of people who should worship them. Drop them in casual musical conversation and most people won’t even realize you’re talking about a band, let alone know them. I’ve seen them live last Monday on the lower deck of a boat with some 30 other kindred spirits, a place where Kylesa playing a rather crappy gig packed some 200 people a couple of months ago. Even if being on Relapse has opened a lot of eyes and ears and taken the band to a level of exposure they probably never had before, it's clear that life is still being an unfair bitch.
In a way, however, it’s perversely appropriate. 16 have always been the sound of the broken, the lost, the downcast and the fucked up. 16 is basically about not giving a shit about anything anymore. Even if you haven’t had any contact with the band before, you can figure it out from the titles alone. Favourite songs from throughout the years include ‘Fucked For Life’, ‘Born To Lose’ and their absolute anthem, ‘Drop Out’s final track '16'. One of the best songs off the latest album starts with vocalist Cris Jerue screaming “GIVE UP!”, while another one features the chorus “throw in the towel / wait for the sequel”. 16 combine the musical equivalents of the random guy you meet in the street who starts throwing punches at you for no reason and the loser who mumbles weird stuff to himself when you pass him by. It’s not happy-go-lucky rock'n'roll, and it's not exactly music for the masses.
Still, it pisses me off. This LA bunch are a cornerstone of sludge, of angry, aggressive music, and even if they don’t realise it, a shitload of bands today owe them a huge debt. Their live show is the sort of visceral experience that perfectly complements the feeling you get from their albums, and underneath all the grimy violence, there is genuine talent at work – the huge riffs, the screamed choruses and the pachydermic rhythms remain in your brain and demand constant revisits. My favourite way to listen to 16 is to just go through their entire discography in a row, and it’s one of the very few bands who can comand excited and agitated attention from the first seconds of ‘Doorprize’ (from the 1992 7” EP) to the last echoes of ‘Missed The Boat’, ‘Bridges To Burn’s closing bomb.
If you’re into 16 already, we salute you, and urge you to go celebrate the fact that such an awesome band exist in this world by listening to them. If you’re not, please do repair that gaping hole in your record collection. Relapse are even making it easy for you by reissuing all those great older albums with new artwork and everything.
Oh, and show up when they’re in town. You won’t regret it.
» Oldd Wvrms (Blackened Sludge / Doom)
Created in 2014, Oldd Wvrms is a band officiating in an occult register insisting on a dark and tormented atmosphere.
Blending the heaviness of Doom and Sludge with a Blackened touch.Drawing his inspiration from ancient tales of witchcraft and forgotten rituals.