If there's one thing I know about metal bands it's that they love a collaboration. Okay, that probably wouldn't be the first thing I'd say I know about them but it's up there. United States doom heavyweights Primitive Man and Unearthly Trance make good on this tradition in the form of a spar across two sides of vinyl. There will be pummelling.
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You gotta appreciate a record that tells you what RPM to spin it at and of course a doom split is a 33er. If they had it their way, and if player switches were a little more versatile, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to dial it down to 1 or 2, but I guess listening to Primitive Man and Unearthly Trance at their standard, laborious speed will do the trick too.
If Primitive Man aren’t your favourite metal band by now, what are you doing? Their sludge is some of the most stubborn ever made, completely oblivious or perhaps disinterested in the value of your time. As a follow up to ‘Caustic’, these two proper songs are unrepentantly harsh. The first has Ethan Lee McCarthy’s voice as solid as cement against the endless call-and-response exchange of screeching feedback and distorted chords. They make a void-embracing soundscape afterwards -- all that can be heard is gutter droplets, low-key noise fumblings and and indecipherable vocals before they bow out forever.
Going into this I knew a whole lot less about Unearthly Trance, but I’m sold from here ‘til eternity. Their doom is crust-tinged in the guitars and blackened in the vocals, the effect emotive and esoteric for a good dosage of double jeopardy. A little faster and dutiful to the flow than their Primitive pals, their side will appeal to fans of a groovier extreme metal, their guitars doing a lovely chug on “Triumph” and climbing a peak on the indelibly repetitive “Reverse the Day”, where they manipulate their genre’s numbing, stoic vibe with freeform guitar and strange vocal effects. They make a good twin for Primitive Man; both bands sound like they're refusing to compromise their very particular sound while at the same time blowing it up anew, just 'cause they can.
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