Three years after Caustic, Primitive Man releases an album which is half as long in duration, and also the shortest of their three full lengths, including the debut Scorn from 2013. For some reason, this was the first characteristic that drew my attention before getting into Immersion, which has already been widely praised by everyone who knows this band. Primitive Man have been relatively active in between the full lengths with a lot of split releases, most of them with quite interesting underground artists, however I have to admit it's only Scorn and Caustic that I had heard of them until now (and of course, the cover of "Sweet Leaf"). The band dictates its own law with immeasurable heaviness, playing one of the most direct and ugliest forms of doom out there, and to even call it like this feels slightly out of place. Doom metal can be beautiful.
The sludge / noise combination of elements, widely used by bands from the United States in the recent years, along with openly expressive lyrical negativity, has been a weird growing trend over there. Primitive Man leave no space for anyone to doubt their sincerity though, and this comes from someone who wouldn't claim to be their biggest fan. For the first time with this band for me, I gave them points and acknowledged the album's title being aligned with its effect, as Immersion can get quite immersive. The band's music was harder to follow with Caustic, a record which was over an hour. The content has been distilled multiple times now and the result is more consistent, more solid, and not at all less violent.
For its own sake, Immersion has an amazing production. The natural and pleasing sound of the drums makes each snare hit directly through your heart, the monstrous growls are unsettling, and the guitars are ripping all along during the album. No unwanted dust can be found in the overall sound, except when Primitive Man wants it to be there. Noise touches are of course present like before, especially in "∞", even though the real terrifying moments for me with Immersion are when they play faster. Parts of the closing track "Consumption" and the introduction of "Menacing" (one of my favorite tracks from them by now) display this clearly. At the same time, most of Immersion is painfully slow, putting shame to a big chunk of the scene that includes bands that even touch the same musical subgenres.
Arguing that Primitive Man got more accessible is false argument, they just got better. The tracks in Immersion are all memorable and they co-exist in one album perfectly. As a band that can achieve heaviness like no other, one couldn't say that the same verdict has not been delivered once again. Generally, I do believe that bands from the US today tend to get too much promotion and too much praise. Especially experimental artists, who touch a bit of grindcore / black metal / noise, seem to get into a wave that favors them even though the music is supposedly extreme. On the other hand, Primitive Man I can stand and admire. Immersion could be their best album to date, not much more to say for it.
August 14th, 2020 | Relapse Records
Listen to Immersion: