PRIMITIVE MAN + support [live review]

Primitive Man; Sea Bastard; Ommadon; Of Spire & Throne; Voe
Bannermann’s, Edinburgh, 05/04/15

Easter Sunday, the sun is shining, bank holiday skivers are sipping G&Ts and children are painting bunnies on eggs…luckily however, the only thing rising in Bannermann’s this evening is the volume and sense of despair.  Praise the Lord.

First on stage, Glasgow’s Voe thunderously commence this doom marathon, crashing through heavy slabs of melancholic, post-metal influenced doom.  The sun maybe out in the capital, but not for long, if Voe’s dark, emotive void doesn’t suck it in too (7/10).

Keeping the dense and despairing pace going at top-slow speed, Of Spire & Throne, batter the assembled eardrums with a further set of sludgy doom, the vocals at times adding a further slightly blackened crust.  Crashing and grisly, the sound and image this trio create may be glacial in tempo, but is more akin to the murky moraine debris lumbering alongside, slowly crushing everything in its path.  Maybe even a little arctic hare or some endangered alpine flora for good measure (7/10).

The concept of drone doesn’t always seem like the most sensible, however, the wannable artistic, soundscape/post-metal appreciating side of me has always been open to the idea, and given the praise Ommadon’s latest EP V has been receiving, I’m more curious than affronted as the keyboard/laptop set-up takes shape.  Fast-forward twenty minutes and the merch table is looking increasingly like a decent spot for a sly snooze.  That’s not to say the Ommadon duo don’t succeed in creating an impressively texted wall of sound, but the percussion-less, vocal-less build-ups drag (in a bad way that is, this is a doom bill after all).  After which a pattern of adding drums, followed by visceral single word vocals emerges which makes it difficult to imagine how the pair plan to move their sound forward in future (4.5/10).

About as far from their hometown’s seaside dream as you can imagine, Sea Bastard are perhaps more likeable to some sort of putrid, demonic barnacle under Brighton pier, tormented by endlessly undulating waves, much like their chugging riffs.  Lengthy tracks of uncompromising doom are intermixed with brief faster moments, while the band themselves command the stage with their presence.  Should “The Fog” ever roll-in over the south coast, Sea Bastard will be providing the soundtrack (8/10).

Relentlessly loud, heavy and hateful, Primitive Man’s droning doom, reverberates round the fittingly cave-like room, the primal pummelling of guitar combined with fevered screams demanding submission from the assembled.  This is a Sunday evening service with no message of peace, love or hope but despite their sound, Primitive Man are gracious on this, the last night of the UK leg of their European tour, by the end of which they are sure to have the rest of the continents’ ears ringing and morale dissipating too (8/10).


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