Primitive Weapons – The Shadow Gallery (Prosthetic Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 6/10

The ho-hum nature of sludge metal and its various offshoots is becoming quite the thorn in one’s side, specifically Blistering’s. The fundamental elements of this style predicates that song structure, technicality (or even proficiency), and cohesiveness are to be thrust to the side in favor of creating something akin to a sonic pigsty. Anyone can be loud, brash, and in-your-face, so over the course of Primitive Weapons’ The Shadow Gallery debut, all of the above are proven to be true. The only cool thing about this release is the album cover. At first, we thought it was an enlarged koala bear, and then we realized it was a nun. Tricky tricky!

The crux of the matter lies with those big, boomy, and silly riffs that are central to the sludge style. And it’s not every band playing this style has been a wash – just reference the seminal works of The Melvins, Eyehategod, Crowbar, and High On Fire, it’s just that newer bands (like Primitive Weapons) are more aligned with heading right toward the sonic overload floodgates, like on the messy, spazzcore-oriented “The Death of Boredom” and “Oath.” The only song here that makes any attempt at latching onto anything remotely digestible would be “Big Chief,” which works well because of its killer opening riff. The remaining tracks on The Shadow Gallery quickly take the plunge into no-man’s land, rife with noisy, scattershot riffs, and the rampant (and annoying) belch of vocalist David Castillo.

A total reach-job by the usually reliable Prosthetic Records, Primitive Weapons are a prime indicator of the sweaty pile-on that is the current sludge/noise metal scene. Those in search for a good song (or a good time), would be advised to look any other place than The Shadow Gallery.

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