Rage and FrustrationHeavy Metal Reviews and Interviews
Band – Primitive Man
Country of Origin – USA
Venue – New Dodge Lounge
Date – October 29th, 2017
I kind of like this ‘Five Things’ format for review a live show. It helps me focus my thoughts. As this show featured five bands, that’s what I’ll write about. A couple of quick comments first. The venue, the New Dodge Lounge is a longish, narrow bar with a second floor balcony/lounge area open to the lower floor so that you can watch from there. The audience area is crowded up against the bar, not ideal if this were a show that encouraged a little more movement. There is a back room leading to the restrooms where the bands were able to set up merch tables. I don’t have any particular gripes…everyone was cool there…just a bit of a strange layout. Also, I missed the big Cattle Decapitation tour (also in the Detroit area on the same night) to see this and interview Ethan McCarthy of Primitive Man (video coming soon). That tour also had an absolutely stacked lineup and Cattle Decapitation is a favorite of mine.That’s how much I wanted to see this show.
Plagues is the solo noise project of Cloud Rat drummer/noise merchant Brandon Hill. He’s been at it for years. This was maybe the sixth time I’ve seen him live in this capacity and, once again, came away impressed. His set consistently draws me in (and I’m not really a noise fan) and leads me along a dark, bleak path. A key feature of this particular set was an old metal tool box with a squeaky handle and an assortment of metal and paper objects inside. The rhythmic use of this set piece, in a variety of ways, gave an organic feel to the sound. If you ever have the opportunity, go check him out.
Next up was Mammon, a four piece black metal project from the Detroit area. Again, I’ve seen these guys before. The last time was peering around a furnace in the basement of a house in downtown Grand Rapids. Then, as now, vocalist Jeffrey Mireles hit the stage in a ceremonial cloak. The band had scattered animal skulls and bones around their performance area. More than once, I thought Mireles was going to shatter one while jumping and stomping around the stage…in bare feet. He definitely sells out for the performance. The band as a whole plays a crushingly obliterating style of black metal with death metal mixed in. The result is dark and primitive, hard to access, but worth doing so.
1000 Yard Stare
The last of the locals, 1000 Yard Stare is a band I didn’t even know by reputation. I had no clue what to expect. To say I was impressed really undersells my reactions. Coming out of fifteen year hiatus, the band dropped a metric tonne of granite on the audience with their crushing sludge. I’m unaware of another local act more fit to open for what Primitive Man brings to the table. Honestly, I came away thinking that this band should have a bright future of destruction ahead of them. They played a tight set that sounded professional, like a touring band would. There wasn’t too much in the way of show, but Tony Wright poured his whole being down the microphone. Steven Smithberger (percussion), Matt Fraser (guitar) and Scott Lambert (bass) hit every note…hard! Remember this band name. They have the potential to go much bigger.
If you read my review of the new album, you know I’m a little lukewarm on these guys. I had a similar experience here as I had listening to Mirror Reaper for the review. The duo played the first half (what Jesse Shreibman told me was the heavy half) as their whole set. I was absolutely entranced…the experience was magical…for about thirty minutes. The issue is, they played about forty-five. The set didn’t suddenly go bad thirty minutes in. There is no part of the album I can point to and say, ‘oh, that part sucks.’ It doesn’t. It just starts to drag for me. I know (from hearing from friends) that isn’t true of everyone. As much as I was absolutely enthralled for most of the set, I remember hitting a point and thinking, ‘this is where it should stop.’ That said, full support. These guys do create magic.
If you don’t already know this, Primitive Man are seriously next level. This was my second time seeing them. The first time, ninth band out of ten at a small, underground metal fest, they were merely excellent. This time, they were otherworldly. I love the new album. I love the parts of it they played live. Seeing them live was transformative. They are incredibly bleak and nihilistic, and yet their music feels empowering when it’s all said and done. It’s almost like an inoculation. They vent the horrors of the world and then I’m afforded a higher level of mental protection from the depression and disgust those things generally cause. Primitive Man gets it, writes about it, pours it out on album and on stage, thus connecting with the listener to make one feel less alone. Sheer genius.