Monday, July 27, 2015

Primitive Man and Valkyrie at the Hi-Tone

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 2:17 PM

click to enlarge Primitive Man perform tonight at the Hi-Tone.
  • Primitive Man perform tonight at the Hi-Tone.
Like any genre that serves as one of the primary colors of musical style, genuine metal (meaning everything but the tenuously-associated historical mainstream embarrassments like hair metal and rap/nu-metal) continues to fracture into a vast spectrum of subsets, and this bill’s co-headliners, Primitive Man and Valkyrie, come from very different places therein. However, one commonality shared here is that both bands are somewhat new additions to the Relapse Records roster, the label itself celebrating its 25th year of metal diversity and reliable quality. 
Primitive Man, a trio from Denver that formed in 2012, makes an admirable effort to be the heaviest, most brutal band on the planet. With an undiluted focus on consummate negativity/misanthropy as delivered through an unrelenting mix of death, sludge, doom metal, and harsh power electronics-style noise, Primitive Man deliver on the title of their recent EP, Home Is Where The Hatred Is. As on the trio’s 2013 debut album, Scorn, their four-song Relapse debut shows a proclivity for stretching the sonic punishment into endurance test territory (see the accompanying 11-minute "Loathe" single from the EP), but what a provocative endurance test it is. The band's idea of "breather tracks" on each of these releases could easily qualify as Merzbow or Wolf Eyes' scariest aural attacks, with an extra coating of soundbite/sample depravity. 

Sharing the latter portion of the evening with Primitive Man is Valkyrie, not to be confused with the innumerable other metal bands that have chosen the same moniker. This long-running but sporadically-active quartet is centered around brothers Jake and Pete Adams (both on guitar/vocals), the latter better known for his work as a principal (and remaining) part of the Baroness lineup for the last seven years. Valkyrie has been around since 2002, and prior to their debut with Relapse earlier this year, Shadows, the band has released three demos, three splits with other bands, and two previous full-length albums (in 2006 and 2008 respectively). While Baroness continued to move beyond its origins of pummeling heaviness and crusty His Hero Is Gone/Neurosis influence to a polished but distinct type of modern hard-rock with progressive and psych overtones, Valkyrie is a study in extracting the proto-metal '70s hard-rock out of a doom/stoner-metal template, though both bands share a love of the more prog-rock things in life. Luckily, with so many bands mining the same territory, Valkyrie does have a very strong knack for memorable songwriting in its pocket. Still, next to Primitive Man, Valkyrie feels like the Fairport Convention or Flying Burrito Brothers, and I don't mean that as a derogatory assessment. 

The two appropriately-sterling local openers on the bill are Gringos and Reserving Dirtnaps. Now in the middle of their 21st year, Gringos are currently recording the follow-up to 2012’s excellent Pearly Gates, though format and other release logistics are still TBA at this time. Reserving Dirtnaps continues a busy year of bringing Memphis’ heaviest metallic hardcore in the live arena and riding some certain momentum in the wake of releasing their self-titled debut CD earlier this year.

Monday, July 27th @ Hi-Tone Big Room. $10 Ages: 18+ Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm      

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