Primitive Man/Northless – Split (Review)

Primitive Man NorthlessBoth hailing from the US and both peddling versions of Sludge/Doom, this split between Primitive Man and Northless got me quite excited when I first became aware of it.

Primitive Man are up first, and readers of this site should be familiar with them from their previous releases Home Is Where the Hatred Is and Split with Hexis.

They offer a single track, Empty Husk, which is a generous 15 minutes long. In my opinion Primitive Man are one of the best purveyors of hate-fuelled Doom out there, and this track does nothing to change that view.

The band have a thick, heavy, sludgy guitar tone that’s just perfect for the kind of music they play. The huge riffs are claustrophobic crushers that seem to suck the air from the room and replace it with tar.

One of my absolute favourite things about the band is the singer’s voice – his growls are just so perfectly pitch black, so utterly cavernous and without hope, it’s truly frightening.

Empty Husk starts off slow and unfolds drenched in feedback and drum rolls. The dark, Doom-drenched atmosphere is built up and maintained, right until it can’t take any more and spills over into blackened blast beats that soon spend themselves in fits of bubbling hatred, only to slow down to a crawl once more, dragging out the misery and contempt for all to soak in.


Northless’ side of the split is a similar length, (17 minutes), but divided into three tracks. Although they’ve never been featured on this site before, their enjoyable brand of Sludge Metal is always a welcome listen.

They’re less-Doom and more Sludge than Primitive Man, which is demonstrated in opener Deleted Heartstrings when it starts with a rip-roaring upbeat tempo that crashes through everything around it in its hurry to spread its dirt.

Theirs is a filthy cacophony of twisted, nightmarish sound that has surely been spawned in some deep, dark abyss somewhere. Northless’ music gives off a very real sense of chaotic suffocation; a controlled chaos that sounds dangerous and is likely to leave scars. The riffs can be quite angular and atypical, with a slight blackened tinge and a surprising level of complexity on occasion.

The singer’s blunt snarls sound callous and almost inhuman, but with just enough uncaring humanity left in to be truly disturbing. He stands aloft, leading the punishing Sludge with unerring vision, firmly set on his grim task of spreading misanthropy.

With each song slowing things down that little bit more than the previous, Northless culminate in their final track Wasted Breath. This is the longest of the three and spends its time building inevitably to a harsh and powerful conclusion.

An exceptional split that showcases the many talents of two of Sludge/Doom’s brightest, (darkest?), lights.

Essential listening for all lovers of hatred, misery and heaviness.

7 thoughts on “Primitive Man/Northless – Split (Review)”

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