It’s been about four years since Primitive Weapons released their well-received full-length debut, The Shadow Gallery. The album’s instantly arresting blend of post-hardcore aggression, muscular metallic grooves, 90s alternative swagger and gloomy atmospheres made the Brooklyn quartet an act to watch. But the band’s involvement in other affairs, most notably metallic hardcore outfit White Widows Pact, caused them to go into a hibernation of sorts. But finally, in 2016, Primitive Weapons return well-rested, refined and poised to kick some teeth in. The Future of Death, their newest effort, builds upon what The Shadow Gallery started. The riffs are heavier. The choruses are catchier. The atmosphere is gloomier. It’s a pummeling, vitriolic metal/hardcore/what have you record that just won’t quit.
The record opens up with the one-two punch of “Ashes or Paradise” and “The Electric Drama”, both of which bludgeon the listener half to death with massive riffs. “Ashes or Paradise” opens up with a procession of gargantuan, sludgy grooves driven by a deafening rhythm section and frontman David Castillo’s anguished, throat-searing screams. These earth-shattering attacks dissolve into bass-heavy verses that feature layered clean vocals, draped in airy effects, which float above the grumbling rhythm section ethereally. The song basically revolves around the interplay between these two types of sections, eventually bleeding into the stormer “The Electric Drama”. This track barrels out of the gate with rambunctious metal grooves that are injected with a healthy dose of high octane hard rock attitude. Guitar riffs bounce, slide and spiral out of control on this catchy and erratic tune.
On songs like “Panopticon Blues” and “Whistle Past the Graveyard”, however, the band opt for darker, more melancholic approaches while never skimping on the brutality. “Panopticon Blues” opens with wavering, marching chords that gradually flow into angular, menacing verses and burly, Helmet-esque beatdowns. The track, especially the opening and ending sections, are enveloped in multiple layers of somber, haunting soundscapes that put the more atmospheric cuts from The Shadow Gallery to shame. “Whistle Past the Graveyard” is a slow-burning tune in which bass lines lurch menacingly throughout, and the guitars churn out gritty riffs that are entangled with spectral vocals and echoing leads. Cuts like these sound like Alice in Chains if they had listened to a lot of hardcore and new wave.
Tracks such as “The Electric Drama” and “Old Miami” hark back to The Shadow Gallery‘s unbridled fury, but those expecting a rewrite of that record may be disappointed. While The Future of Death is a metallic beast of a record, the majority of the tracks focus more on buildup and mood than battering listeners right from the jump. The effects may not be as immediate as The Shadow Gallery, but the record leaves more of an impression on the listener than its predecessor and warrants repeated listens. Primitive Weapons have really grown into their sound with this record. Hopefully it won’t be another four years before the next release.
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Label: Party Smasher, Inc
Favorite Tracks: “The Electric Drama”, “Night Eyes”, “Age of Denial”, “Old Miami” and “Widow Rehearsal”
For Fans Of: White Widows Pact, Goes Cube, Refused and American Heritage
Read our interview with the band here.