Primitive Man - Scorn review




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Reviewer:
7.2

36 users:
7.50
Band: Primitive Man
Album: Scorn
Release date: February 2013


01. Scorn
02. Rags
03. I Can't Forget
04. Antietam
05. Black Smoke
06. Stretched Thin
07. Astral Sleep


People sometimes misunderstand the word "melody" to mean upbeat or accessible, and "subtle" to always mean delicate or refined. Quite to the contrary, a melody is simply "a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying." A melody can be happy, sad, or angry; intricate or simple. Likewise, subtle can also mean "a small detail that is usually important but not obvious," or even more fitting in relation to blackened sludge, "operating in a hidden, usually injurious way; insidious." Unfortunately for Primitive Man, I don't find Scorn to have a strong enough handle on either of these details that make the genre particularly interesting to me.

After hearing Lord Mantis's Death Mask last year, I was hungry for more moral debasement. I shelved the desire for a few months, but after a slew of excellent sludge releases in the past weeks, my interest was once more piqued. A little digging quickly led me to what fans described as some of the most oppressive music to hit in 2013. As such, I was happy to see the album available for stream at bandcamp. Maybe it was a case of overhype, but I did not find myself impressed.

The vocals, yes, are gritty. They are a bit different from some of the other similar things I have heard. Foregoing the more Today Is The Day shriek, Primitive Man go for a more…well…primitive death growl. This is probably the high point of what the band has to offer me sonically. While there are some nice discordant guitar screeches and earworm melodies to be found, the lengthy portions of dragging palm mutes are far less engaging. The title track is a good example with the closing minutes dedicated to a slow chug that is apparently perfectly okay for blackened sludge, but not for deathcore. Yeah, I said it. It's the same exact concept, just dressed up in a different format. I kept thinking of beatdown, slowcore (it's a thing) tracks like "Malignant" by Traitors.

I anticipate plenty of hate for daring to make a comparison to the current naughty-word genre of metal, but the overall point is that I think other groups do this better. For every tasty riff, like the instantly likeable opening of "Rags," we get at least 3-4 times as many dreary slogs through Chugville. "But it's atmospheric," you say. Fair argument, but other groups like tech-deathers Ulcerate and blackened deathers Malthusian are also capable of building soul-rending soundscapes while displaying far more technical dexterity and song-writing chops.

While I am admittedly new to Indian, their last two albums gripped me instantly and resulted in marathon listens. There are layers to be peeled away. Anyone who thinks that tracks like "The Fate Before Fate," "Rhetoric Of No," or the last half of "Grace" have no melody need to get their ears checked and pull out a dictionary or book on music theory. Similarly, tracks like "Guiltless" and "Disambiguation" make subtle choices with drum patterns and guitar playing that separate the men from the boys. The same goes for Lord Mantis: creating disgustingly harsh journeys without sacrificing musicianship or memorability. While I don't hate Scorn (haha) and what it has to offer, I would choose "Body Choke" or "Possession Prayer" over "Stretched Thin" any day of the week.

Ultimately, Scorn is a worthwhile piece of pure, primal degradation. If you were looking for something to pound you into the ground without thinking much about it, this album is probably for you. If you love it, great. I just recommend you also check out some of the other bands I mentioned along the way. Personally, I expect a bit more as a jaded, aging guitar player. Now get off my lawn, you kids!


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written by flightoficarus | 23.04.2015


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Apothecary
Rating:
9.0
I can clearly remember the day that I first crossed paths with Primitive Man's Scorn. It was one of the usual "coffee + Metal Storm" mornings, where I ritually checked silly Shoutbox conversations before proceeding to browse the new releases. Scrolling down the first page, a lovely image greeted me: an album cover depicting some guy with a skull for a head, who was graciously grabbing another guy's head by its hair and shoving a gun to his screaming face. "Wooooaaaaahhhh," I said to myself. "This oughta be some sick shit." I would soon find out, however, just what an understatement "sick shit" would end up being.

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published 03.07.2015 | Comments (3)


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 45 users
23.04.2015 - 00:40
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
If you're judging this on the basis of "is it melodic?" and "is it layered?" then I am sorry, but you are totally missing the point. This is music more of a "less is more" variety that is simply meant to pound you into oblivion, and there's really little more complexity to it than that.
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Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
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23.04.2015 - 00:42
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Apothecary on 23.04.2015 at 00:40

If you're judging this on the basis of "is it melodic?" and "is it layered?" then I am sorry, but you are totally missing the point. This is music more of a "less is more" variety that is simply meant to pound you into oblivion, and there's really little more complexity to it than that.


And I get that. I still just think that you can pound someone into oblivion with a little more effort than this. I think the score reflects that. A low 7 to me generally means it's entertaining, but not particularly adept. This is part of why I brought up deathcore. People tend to complain how stupid and simple it is, yet when other genres do it people shrug it off as an artistic choice. To me that is hypocritical.
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23.04.2015 - 00:47
Ilham
Giant robot
Are you reviewing the album or is this a comparative essay on the state of sludge? I don't think this is the way you make your arguments hold.
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23.04.2015 - 00:55
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
You just don't get it mannnn!! Nah, you're entirely justified in your opinion, no matter how much more I enjoy it than yourself. I personally view styles such as that of Primitive Man as holding a much more percussive drive, and thus letting the melody take a backseat to structure. However, this is obviously a preference, and is definitely beside the norm. I would argue that such violent forms of sludge are not necessarily comparable to deathcore, as the latter does in fact tend to rely heavily on melody, however in a much more simplistic state than say power metal. Maybe djent would have been a better comparison, but honestly that's even a stretch. To me this and drone go in the same category of "music to zone-the-fuck-out to". Glad you enjoyed it at least somewhat, as this was probably top 10 of the year material for me when it came out.
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get that bag
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23.04.2015 - 01:04
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Alex F on 23.04.2015 at 00:55

You just don't get it mannnn!! Nah, you're entirely justified in your opinion, no matter how much more I enjoy it than yourself. I personally view styles such as that of Primitive Man as holding a much more percussive drive, and thus letting the melody take a backseat to structure. However, this is obviously a preference, and is definitely beside the norm. I would argue that such violent forms of sludge are not necessarily comparable to deathcore, as the latter does in fact tend to rely heavily on melody, however in a much more simplistic state than say power metal. Maybe djent would have been a better comparison, but honestly that's even a stretch. To me this and drone go in the same category of "music to zone-the-fuck-out to". Glad you enjoyed it at least somewhat, as this was probably top 10 of the year material for me when it came out.


Cheers, Alex. Thanks for the insight. It ain't a bad record. Like you said, everything comes down to preferance and I am always, first and foremost, listening to the guitar.
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23.04.2015 - 01:58
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by flightoficarus on 23.04.2015 at 00:42

And I get that. I still just think that you can pound someone into oblivion with a little more effort than this. I think the score reflects that. A low 7 to me generally means it's entertaining, but not particularly adept. This is part of why I brought up deathcore. People tend to complain how stupid and simple it is, yet when other genres do it people shrug it off as an artistic choice. To me that is hypocritical.

I think it's the overabundance of breakdowns in deathcore/metalcore that gets on many peoples' nerves, in blackened sludge it's nowhere near as much of a thing. I get what you're saying, but I think that that's at least partially the reason why people react differently to each. As far as the "more effort" thing is concerned, I definitely think you're in the minority with that opinion (which is ok, don't get me wrong). Again, I don't necessarily know how adept or sophisticated music like this is supposed to be really. Bands such as Lord Mantis, Indian, and Dragged Into Sunlight may cover a bit more bases in their composition than Primitive Man do, but I don't think that's a standard one should automatically use for judging them as better. There are many ways of getting the job done with this type of music, and to me this album simply offers an alternative.

Just friendly advice, by the way: what Ilham said is somewhat seconded. This didn't feel like a review as much as it did an exposé of the style and why you think other bands within it are better. You honestly did more of that than you described the album itself. I've never really seen you do this, but as most of your reviews are pretty highly scored, I'd assume it's because you're reviewing something much lower that sits in kind of grey territory with you, so try to work on this for the future with albums you're a little more "meh" about.
----
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
Loading...
23.04.2015 - 02:16
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Apothecary on 23.04.2015 at 01:58
Try to work on this for the future with albums you're a little more "meh" about.


I'll keep it in mind. My inspirations for this one were different, so it came out differently.
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Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
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23.04.2015 - 03:52
Lit.
Account deleted
Seems like you talked about every other band in sludge but Primitive Man.
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24.04.2015 - 02:17
mz
You could guess that I don't agree with the review. Your perception of melody and subtlity is wrong IMO. "a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying" is exactly my definition of music, excluding noise. BaN's MoRT is extremely satisfying for me, yet it is one of the most anti melodic albums I've ever heard.
What's nice about blackend sludge is the relative diversity of sounds for a new and yet to be explored genre. It is actually very good that primitive man's approach to the genre is very different from the bands you mentioned, as it makes them stnadout.
Mentioning bands like ulcerate and Malthusian as a reference point for your comparision is not only unfair, but also out of place. Sludge metal in general is simpler than DM, let alone the abstract and avantgarde form of it displayed by ulcerate. At the end, what matters is the emotional impact of the music and not the technicality. By this argument, you can criticize every single drone doom band in the world.

I can understand that you are not enthusianstic about this record like me, but tbh I think your reasons are not well supported in this review.
Sorry if I came out a little harsh, and cheers for the good score to this record.
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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26.04.2015 - 02:07
J. N.
Account deleted
Awful "review".
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28.04.2015 - 23:52
megapsychoticone
As a fan of sludge metal and serious fan of the blackened variety I can understand why someone would not care for "SCORN" as I tend to be bit different in my existential views of humanity. As extreme metal followers do tend to disagree as to what is worthwhile I will just disagree with you here with understanding. However I do appreciate the aforementioned "less is more" barbarity of Primitive Man and this release is their best in my opinion. The music is at times drone filled, at times hardcore, and others sludgy doom...at all times filthy and pugilistic.
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29.04.2015 - 00:07
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by megapsychoticone on 28.04.2015 at 23:52

As a fan of sludge metal and serious fan of the blackened variety I can understand why someone would not care for "SCORN" as I tend to be bit different in my existential views of humanity. As extreme metal followers do tend to disagree as to what is worthwhile I will just disagree with you here with understanding. However I do appreciate the aforementioned "less is more" barbarity of Primitive Man and this release is their best in my opinion. The music is at times drone filled, at times hardcore, and others sludgy doom...at all times filthy and pugilistic.


Thanks for the constructive comment.
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Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
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