July 15, 2014

Primitive Man splits with Xaphan and Hexis

Written by Aaron Sullivan.

If you read my review of last years Primitive Man album Scorn you know I am a big fan (the album made my year end list). I also had the pleasure of seeing them live last year, that only cemented my fandom.

For the uninitiated Primitive Man is the project of Ethan McCarthy (ex-Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, Vermin Womb). He along with Jonathan Campos on bass and Isidro Soto on drums create dark, ugly, heavy, blackened Sludge. Just the type of music I love the most.

They have teamed up to do two splits this year (so far) with two different bands. Admittedly I was not familiar with Xaphan before this split and had only checked out Hexis’ album Abalam once. I bought both of these splits for Primitive Man and figured I'd give the other bands a try.

First up is the split with Xaphan featuring ex-members of Disembodied, Threadbare, Blinding Light, 108, Martyr AD, Bosnia, Black Sleep of Kali. They play what could be described as Hardcore with an industrial tinge to it. The song is in your face from the get go. Vocals are a great mix of hardcore style shouts and throaty roars that remind me a bit of Neurosis’ Dave Edwardson. Heavy and full of energy. A good pairing with Primitive Man’s song. One that opens with this almost Grind feel before going into a full beat down of heaviness. Both songs are relentless, short, sweet, and to the point.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Next up is their split with Denmark’s Hexis. This is a band I did know. Their album Abalam was solid, but ultimately didn't do that much for me. They play Blackened Hardcore with no song clocking in at over 4 minutes, except one. The closer "Inferis", that is almost 9 minutes and is the one song I really enjoyed. It is slow, dark and full of atmosphere. Their contribution to this split is very much in the same vein. It’s starts off a tad faster before going into a dronish middle section. Ending in sludgy, doomy goodness. Primitive Man’s song does what they do best. Mixing up the intensity and ugliness of Sludge and the heaviness of DOOM in ways not too many others can duplicate.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

The thing I loved most about these splits is the pairing of not only the bands, but of the songs too. Both show the diversity that Primitive Man bring in their song writing. Neither are duplicates, yet both would sound fine if they were tracks on the same album. As for the other two bands. They both did enough on one song to make me want to hear more, as is the case for Xaphan, and give Hexis another try. To me that is a successful split.

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