You would be hard pressed to find two bands making heavier, uglier music than Denver trio Primitive Man and Salem, OR’s Hell. The former are still riding the wave of 2017’s Caustic full-length and 2018 split with Unearthly Trance and the latter off of their self-titled 2017 full-length, but this split may be both of their finest work yet.
Primitive Man control the first half of the split, issuing two new tracks. “Oily Tears” threatens to pull the listener into a swirling void of feedback, glacially-slow death-sludge riffs and occasional bursts of speed. Frontman Ethan McCarthy’s reverb-drenched vocals are instantly recognizable over the din as he roars, growls and sometimes gurgles over the chaos he and his bandmates create.
“Pitiful & Loathsome” is the more bleak of the two songs, somehow getting more dark and miserable than the track before. The slow parts of the song are almost agonizingly slow as noise and feedback threaten to consume the track.
It isn’t easy to to out-heavy Primitive Man, but Hell are the band for the task. “Nuumen” is more lo-fi and less all-consuming than Primitive Man’s offerings, but creator M.S.W.’s tortured vocals and use of atmosphere create an equally bleak soundscape. In this case, less is more, and it offers a break from the unrelenting heaviness that is Primitive Man.
In addition to a stream of the split, Decibel spoke with M.S.W. and McCarthy about their songs on the split. Primitive Man / Hell is out Friday on Translation Loss; physical copies are sold out.
Find a way to use mental illness to your advantage if you’ve decided that It won’t go away.When you wrote “Nuumen,” was it always intended to be for a split with Primitive Man?
Primitive Man interview
Yes and no. One song is about the earth dying. The other song is about still finding time for revenge in the face of societal collapse.
We had a couple of brief breaks in between touring and wrote them during those times.
Because MSW’s music is insanely good. And though I feel like we are sonically different in a lot of ways, the approach lives inside of a similar spirit.
The idea behind that image is that everything is hell. We are in Hell. Right now. And it was actually created before the split even came about, and was supposed to be the cover for the next PM full length, but no one liked the first image I made so we used this instead due to time constraints.