Hardcore music has taken many twists and turns over the years. Much like death metal and black metal, bands have taken the ‘formula’ and bent it to their liking. Bands like Fugazi and Refused are two prime examples. Even still, those artists tried to stay within certain lines while coloring in the hardcore coloring book. Primitive Weapons takes hardcore in a new, fresh direction which is much needed in the over-saturated genre.
Formed in 2009 by guitarist Arthur Sheppard (who also owns the famous Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn, NY) have only put out one other full-length (The Shadow Gallery in 2011) via Prosthetic Records. Since the release of that album, the members of Primitive Weapons have been various bands and have gone on to open some successful bars in the Brooklyn area and then seemingly disappeared.
Then Ben Weinman (yes, THAT Ben Weinman) called and wanted Primitive Weapons to do a short tour with with DEP (no one says ‘no’ to that!). They must have made quite an impression on that tour as Ben signed them to his Party Smasher Inc. imprint immediately and their 2nd full-length album The Future of Death.
I started playing this promo and while some songs didn’t stick right away, others caught my attention immediately. “The Electric Drama” is just a fun rock song disguised as hardcore, “Panopticon Blues” is a mid-tempo singalong that will surely whip the pit into a fury, and my favorite track “Whistle Past the Graveyard” is a catchy, haunting song in what sounds like a plea to a lover for one last chance before the author decides to hurt himself and everyone around him if the lover will not give him one last chance. Many bands can talk about ‘burning the world to the ground’ and come off as sounding like a cartoon. When Primitive Weapons sings it, you will believe they mean it.
The rest of the album ventures into typical post-hardcore territory but entices the listener for repeated listens. Intertwined with the ‘hits’, the quality of the song writing and musicianship shines through. I’m amazed at how short and simple this album seems but I still find nuances with each listen (up to about 15 times now and counting).
Special praise for the recording by Dean Baltulonis (Madball, Modern Life Is War) at The Wild Arctic, and mastering by Dave Gardner (Black Lips, Rocket from the Crypt) at Magneto Mastering. This is a thick, fat, loud album that you’ll want to play at maximum volume.
Lets hope Party Smasher Inc. can give these guys the push they deserve and launch them into the upper echelon of post-hardcore. Well done gents!