Every now and then we come across a release which certainly impresses and is very easy to recommend but at the end of the day just does not excite as much as it should and that is just the case with Primitives the new album from US metallers The Room Colored Charlatan. Musically and emotionally the encounter is glorious and technically bewitching but for all the moments which have thoughts basking and imagination captivated without reserve, for us it fails to light a fire in the passions. It is still very easy to suggest exploring its stylish merger of progressive and technical metal filtered with the voracity of extreme metal aligned to soaring ambiences, as it is a fascinating and striking adventure.
Hailing from Indiana, the quintet has been compared to the likes of Between The Buried And Me and The Contortionist, two bands which indeed have inspired The Room Colored Charlatan along with the likes of Painted In Exile, Born Of Osiris, Veil Of Maya, and Animals As Leaders. Listening to the new album you can see what breeds those references though equally there is plenty about the release which sets the band apart. Building and increasing their reputation live, playing with bands such as TesseracT, Veil of Maya, Born Of Osiris, and The Contortionist over the past years, the band brought concentrated attention upon themselves with debut album Between Mirrors: The Quantum Immortality in 2012 which was released, as the new album, on Subliminal Groove Records. Primitives take all the qualities of its predecessor into new expansive dramas and evocative climates, across sceneries which roar and claw at the senses whilst seducing with a melodic and atmospheric beauty. Inspired by the theme ‘that humankind is not as civilized or as modern as we like to think’, the album is an epic imposing journey broken up into individual musically poetic chapters.
A chilled breeze around a lone guitar opens up the album and Instinct, and it is a beckoning soon full of melodic intrigue and rhythmic resonance as the song grows into full view. It is a hypnotic entrance potently luring in attention before the grizzled vocal delivery of Jared Bush brings a raw imposing into the creative elegance already cast by guitarists Justin Seymour and Brent Edelson, his presence seemingly a spark for an expanding intensity which stalks with djent seeded stabs, oppressive breaths, and rapacious shadows. The weave of melodic enterprise becomes more acidic but still seduces within and tempers the more vocal tempest of sound. It is an enthralling proposition, the composing and craft of the band alone gripping as the soundscape of the sonic narrative consumes the imagination.
The starter evolves into the brief and invigorating instrumental Native Habitat, guitars and drums sculpting a mouthwatering terrain for thoughts to explore before it then flows into the following Apex Predator. The rhythmic enterprise of Adam Dixon swiftly has its heavy skilled hand on a definite appetite for the impending adventure as a sonic web spins an absorbing and perpetually shifting picture, one nicely courted by constantly dark and agreeably imposing bass hues from Michael Miller. As the track permeates thoughts the aggressively caustic growls of Bush fail to sit easily but to be fair it is just down to personal taste, just like eyes maybe lack a kinship to the colour green, at times his delivery fails to persuade our ears. It is no reflection on his presence and attack but to our loss it does defuse some of the might of what is an impressive track, especially its vivaciously ravenous climax.
The intensively bruising emergence of the title track has senses rocking back on their heels next rugged riffs and similarly predacious rhythms badger and assault before an entrancing melodic mesh wraps the heart of the song, caressing and soothing the sores spawned by the formidable and pleasing storm. The subsequent body of the track does not quite inspire as its entrance but again the individual skills combine for an almost romantically colourful view of an intimidating premise.
Keys make another potent and important texture to the album, none more so than within Questions of Origin, their vigorously simmering dazzle impregnating another virulently aggressive, almost rabid exacting landscape. With guitars searing as they simultaneously entwine the senses in melodic beauty, the track is one which lights a fuse to more keen ardour alongside again nothing but impressed respect for the album so far; oh and note Bush is exceptional too, his bordering vicious snarl resting very nicely in the ears, yes we like to be contrary.
The sweeping synth grandeur within the following Survivalist Notion soon captivates whilst beneath riffs grind and chew through ears, the fusion a riveting endeavour which is only accentuated by the first appearance of clean vocals, something the band should definitely explore more ahead. The bass of Miller has its finest hour here, though maybe it is just it is allowed a little more space to enslave away from the smothering tempests it so richly helps create. Like many of the songs, there is very little to criticise or question, though for a still indefinable reason, as the album, it does not ignite the heat of passion it probably deserves.
The Atlas Artifact from its first touch floats and rigorously pursues an epically honed expansive progressive flight, though it is soon perpetually buffeted by clinging almost hostile eruptions and vigorous creative rabidity. The song again unveils exceptional harmonious vocals which once more impress thoroughly whilst the guitar invention and imagination between Seymour and Edelson is breath-taking at times; everything combining for a gripping and highly enjoyable emotively driven conclusion to the main thrust of the album.
Closed by the outstanding bonus track Nexus Point, which as good as steals the album’s pinnacle moment, its voracious enterprise and outright creative aggression savaging and firing up ears and emotions, Primitives is a fine album which only offers impressive bait to acclaim and eager recommendations. The Room Colored Charlatan is potentially a major force in the making, the album makes that easy to say and who knows they might even get us over excited at some point too.
Primitives is available via Subliminal Groove Records and @ http://theroomcoloredcharlatan.bandcamp.com/album/primitives
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