Event ReviewsPrimitive Man and Their Clan Plague Brillobox (5/23/2019)

Darren LewisMay 27, 2019

One must bathe in blood every so often to find purity of purpose. Such was this encounter…

Hulking vocalist/guitarist/leader Ethan Lee McCarthy sees demons. As the leader of Relapse alumni Denver sludge/doom act Primitive Man, he has seen visions of hell and is only…an early man, a Neanderthal blessed with high intelligence and immortality from a meteorite. Those horrors danced before his eyes at Brillobox, a Lawrenceville bar/club/hipster haven that was once a darkened neighborhood tavern called Nooner’s, and all we in attendance could do was gasp and stare as drummer Joe Linden and bassist Jon Campos merely attempted to contain the seething aggression that leaked out onto Penn Avenue. With hints of crust and grind, Primitive Man’s brief expulsion of nihilistic hatred and fear the other night were as shocking as hearing Napalm Death for the first time.

The evening was as much a showcase for drummers as much as anything in the small, cramped venue. Much like the aforementioned Primitive Man pounder, Body Void’s Eddy Holgerson performed in combustive fashion, barely keeping up with his fatalistic compatriots, guitarist and chief member Will Ryan vomiting anthems of suicide and anti-fascism while a metal halide lamp shone in his face and bassist Parker Ryan enabled this very personal Black Bloc crusade. What darkness lurks in the San Francisco scene? Body Void knows…

Aseethe brought us more heaving doom, the Iowans slowing things down agonizingly, Eric Diercks knocking back the encroaching nothingness with his sticks. Khanatean and relentless, Aseethe’s stand was a spell on the edge of a cliff while contemplating eternity and the existential dread that pollutes our modern world with Brothers Danny and Brian Barr looking on as if they were Cain and Abel.

Local changelings Pyrithe seem to adapt to whatever type of show they are opening, and this was yet another chameleon-like blast of sonics and madness, this time highlighting their primordial doom/sludge roots to fit the environs. Songs were endless with labyrinthine twists and turns, percussionist John Kerr rising from the mud to make sense of the engrossing chaos in vain. Theremin groans and hums punctuated the unholy death-cries of vocalist Vee Cee as guitarist Zach Miller added hints of post-metal to his necromancy.

Disoriented and weary and aching for some sort of light either real or figurative, I staggered out onto the street, images of decay and sounds of misery and torment filling my mind and ears until daybreak. My soul and very fundament of my being had been attacked, but I had only brought it onto myself.