Black metal is not uncommon ground for the mixing of worlds that don’t always exist alongside each other but somehow blend unexpectedly well. This is one of those stories. But it’s not just different forms of music being plied together; it’s also the union of eras past with the present, the living with the dead, and it all works to create a haunting atmosphere that fully ingests the active listener.
I say active because anyone passively listening to “Talkin’ in Tongues With Mountain Spirits,” the second full-length from Primeval Well, very well might miss the ghosts and rattling stories combined within. Over eight tracks, the band mixes thunderstorming black metal, bluegrass, and rustic folk along with stories from their homes in the eastern mountains in Tennessee and spirits that passed long ago but remain among us, weaving in and out of these songs. The band—vocalist/guitarist Ryan Clackner, bassist/vocalist Luke Lindell, keyboardist/vocalist Edward Longo, drummer Zac Ormerod—play in other bands such as StumpTail, Vile Haint, Arcane Morrow, and others, but what they do here is even out of the realms of those groups that also push ideas and expectations into the netherworld. This is best experienced with full attention, eyes and ears open, letting your mind be stimulated.
“Psilocybin Psychosis by the Mountain Top Cross” is quick opener that sets the tone, marrying strange chants, psychedelic weirdness, and feral cries as things move toward “Raising Up Antlers to Our Mountain Gods” that begins in heavy mood as the guitars explode. The riffs snarl as the melodies carve their path, taking you for an exhilarating ride that plays with your mind and pummels your soul. A brief respite of calm explodes on the other end as strange guitars furrow brows, a soulful display sets your guts on fire, and everything burns into a hypnotic rage. “She Flies Undead” dawns with guitars creaking and a heavy bluegrass feel exploding and carrying the pace. The vocals deliver an Appalachian folk fever, feeling like a black metal floor stomper, and the bulk of this thing is heavily catchy, compelling you to join in the experience. The patterns continue, it feels like ghosts have taken over the floor, and the playing explodes and leaves you tested. “Ghost Fires Burn Light in Our Eyes” is a dose of slowly burning black metal with growls adding pressure, with murk thickening the stew. Guitars mix in and overwhelm as organs enter, a proggy burst surprises and enthralls, and suddenly your heartstrings are tangled as a final gust explodes and then submits to feedback.
The title track has a hearty bluegrass rush that rollicks and works into a black metal fury that foams at the mouth and sinks in its teeth. Bizarre leads make you tilt your head over the perverse creativity, and then things change up and take on some unexpected gothy vibes. Atmosphere works its way through the center, speed stampedes again, and the track storms viciously, melting into the synth power. “Tales Carved in Stone on a Forbidden Road” starts with acoustic picking, quivering guitars, and wonderfully folkish melodies before the drums begin to mash. The playing unloads great energy and awesome power, the riffs smother, and animalistic roars lean into your ribcage. Banjos join the main lines, the band blasts hard, and the track comes to a guttural conclusion. “Where All Things Are Forgotten” explodes with a capella singing, with the old folk song “Am I Born to Die” recited with great spirit, conjuring ages passed by. The electricity arrives later and shocks your system with the wild chaos brewing, splitting open the ground and letting dark spirits collect, ending the track in boiling madness and bells chiming away. “Sickening Laughter With the Grinning Trees” is an acoustic, instrumental closer delivering eerie vibes and a sense that you’re being swallowed whole by the center of the woods.
Primeval Well sound like nothing else out there right now, even other bands that employ bluegrass and black metal hybrid. The playing on “Talkin’ in Tongues With Mountain Spirits” often sounds like vessels from ages ago uniting, injecting black metal into their formula, and bringing you into the center of something you never could understand. This is music that feels like it exists on a very different level, letting you have a glimpse into a volatile spirit world waiting to call you home.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/primevalwell
To buy the album, go here: https://primevalwell.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MoonlightCypressArchetypes