Getintothis’ Mark Greenwood visits the Zanzibar and witnesses a pulsating set from the sludgemeister generals.
The artwork for Home Is Where the Hatred Is defines the ultra-blackened violence of Primitive Man. Dark and infinitely aggressive, the trio perhaps define the zeitgeist of the contemporary death sludge movement.
Suffocated in American flags, raw bodies, armed with an assemblage of heavy weapons re-represent entropic waves of feedback guitar wreckage encased in post-apocalyptic throbs of omni-present doom and apathy. The listener’s cranium is exposed by two dirty fingers and forced at gun point to endure waves of malicious mediation.
Arriving at Liverpool’s Zanzibar early, Getintothis re-locate to the Shipping Forecast due to an extended sound check. Clutching pints we are able to hangout in the beer garden which affords us a preview of what’s to come as Sea Bastard‘s warm up blasts away any hope of ambient street noise that circulates the ramshackle clusters of post-industrial watering holes around Seel Street.
This unlikely oasis operates as a kind of Neolithic burial ground, exposing layers of crunching noise and the awful death rattles of perpetually tortured mammoths.
Our re-entry into the Zanzibar is met with inevitable visceral battery of Death Trip. These Preston Morlocks are tight and crushing with plenty of vehement energy. It’s difficult to believe that the band are unsigned as they plunder a wealthy catalogue of well-structured power death rituals with tight intensity and honed precision, leaving a series of battered carcasses in their unholy wake.
In summary, it’s well worth checking out Death Trip if you enjoy your metal with heavy polish and clinical execution and their Ruinous album is quite brilliant.
I’m not too sure about Sloth Hammer. Performatively, the band comes across as a half-arsed performance art project decked out in daft balaclavas and a collection of unremarkable objects. Any sense of menace and foreboding is usurped by a kind of ineffective comedy routine where less than average musical improvisations confound rather than inspire.
There are signs of brilliance here but they are dwarfed in a confusing sensibility that requires more graft than gimmickry.
The same cannot be said for Sea Bastard who almost succeed in reducing the Zanzibar to a pile of rubble with their pounding bastardisations of stoner doom rhetoric. Once warmed up, these southern savages describe a ruthless death machine intend on callous obliteration with intense and lengthy meditations on black magic and dark primordial struggle. Musically the band are unrelenting and ferocious, infesting appreciative attendees with a host of dark diseases inscribed in archaic riffs and nauseous feedback. I’d urge sludge enthusiasts to check out the remarkable Scabrous album.
Primitive Man are undisputed heavyweights of the sludge scene and they pull no punches tonight. Black masks, open sores and dismembered pigs describe awful dystopian scenarios within torturous cells that concur frightening death syndromes. Heads nod in ascension as bodies wasted on Red Stripe sway and submit to suffocation.
The music of Primitive Man is so crushing and frighteningly abstract that it’s hard to describe in words – imagine being forced fed gravel while being spontaneously jabbed in the bollocks with a cattle prod and you may get the picture. Definitely one of this writer’s favourites of the sludge genre, these primitive mad men deserve to be permanently etched into extreme metal consciousness.
So, a delightful night in a wonderful venue that deserves to be at the pinnacle of Liverpool’s metal scene. Let us hope that the Zanzibar can survive the cultural overall that appears to be currently decomposing the city’s grimier facades.