PICK OF THE WEEK: Primitive Man’s dour outlook brings misery to thunderous fury on ‘Immersion’

Photo by Alvino Salcedo

I’m having a harder time each week leaving my house and going out into the world because it’s a constant reminder of people’s selfishness and lack of understanding of the simplest concepts that are designed to accommodate other people, and really this started before the pandemic. It’s only gotten worse now, and my distaste of being around others has only thickened.

That kept picking away at me when taking on Primitive Man’s ungodly pummeling new record “Immersion,” a six-track, 36-minute ride into the worst parts of existence as well as your unmercifully scarred psyche. It’s not like Primitive Man ever have been a go-to band if you’re looking to fill your soul with joy, but with humanity seemingly on an endless descent into shit, it gets harder to conjure positivity in a place devoid of it. This record, their third full-length and first since 2017’s “Caustic,” is a purposeful slide toward embracing the darkness and gazing into the chasm that has created such ill feelings. The band—vocalist/guitarist Ethan Lee McCarthy, bassist Jonathan Campos, drummer Joe Linder—treats this madness with some of their heaviest, most relentless playing yet, a record that is almost half the length of their last album but somehow finds a way to leave deeper, more painful wounds both inside and outside of your body and mind.

“The Lifer” opens in a bath of noise lava with McCarthy’s growls corroding muscle, and sludgy hell leading the way. A lurching death march piles into mud as the guitar work continues to throw acid at things, and the pace is completely devastating, slowly pinching your nerves before fading into atmosphere. “Entity” has guitars firing up right away, eating away at your psyche, while noise hovers, and McCarthy’s growls churn. The track burns in place, letting heavy smoke billow while the playing lands heavy blows, storming in chaos that grinds into the dirt. “Menacing” is suitably named as it unloads with the drumming killing and the playing splattering guts. Lumbering growls weigh down your chest and continue to add pressure as the tempo clobbers, and the noise melts metal into liquid. The smashing refuses to relent while the track crawls to the finish line before spacey guitars jolt and release alien gases.

“∞” is an ambient track that would not sound out of place on McCarthy’s Many Blessings project. Sounds sizzle and crash as an onslaught of sound challenges your ears and mental dexterity, eventually fading into muck. “Foul” unleashes ringing noises, brutal riffs, and fearsome growls as McCarthy threatens, “Stay the fuck away from me.” Torture abounds from there with guitars cutting through guts and brief gusts of air being choked out by ominous tones. Sounds swirl into oblivion as the vocals punish the mind, feeling like a bloodletting, with the track slowly crashing to its end. “Consumption” closes the record and brings on stifling fury with the drumming destroying, and feedback hanging like a cloud of hornets. McCarthy’s wails rumble as the band hammers into grinding death, deliberately ripping its way back into the earth.

Existence is miserable with or without the world being in a perpetual state of anxiety over a plague and dealing with the fuckers who think this is political, and “Immersion” is a heavy reminder of that fact. Primitive Man always have reveled in the darker regions of humanity, but with things continually getting worse every day, these six songs won’t really leave you feeling great inside. But that’s the point: Embracing this reality is a way to make us more resilient, to develop harder shells, and to tackle the demons that have been haunting us, unless we choose sweet submission and give into the failure.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/primitivemandoom/

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/primitive-man-immersion

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords