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Photos by Michael R. Batchelder
PRIMITIVE MAN (Colorado)
Denver’s Primitive Man makes music that matches their name: a nihilistic blend of brutal death metal, deviant noise, and primeval doom. Their debut on Relapse Records was called “[a record] that will consume you whole if you’re not careful,” by Cvlt Nation and “the best worst thing that has ever happened to you,” by Metal Hammer. The band, which features members of Vermin Womb, Withered, Clinging to the Tress of a Forest Fire, and others, has been prolific since their forming in 2012, releasing four splits, an EP, and a full-length. Despite their brutal approach, Primitive Man’s music is characterized by an atavistic sense of humanity, modern conceptions of hope and faith, and an undeniable newness.
CULT LEADER (Utah)
Cult Leader are the next evolutionary leap forward for three-quarters of Gaza, arguably one of the best metallic bands of the last decade. After the early 2013 dissolution of the aforementioned band, remaining members Michael Mason, Casey Hansen, and Anthony Lucero were joined by bassist Sam Richards to form this brand new beast.
OF FEATHER AND BONE (Colorado)
“Denver, CO based Of Feather and Bone first vinyl release – “Adorned in Decay” released via Mind Melt Records. is a fucking rager. five tracks of what folks these days would refer to as blackened crust – done right! easily one of my favorite bands to come out in the past few years. give it a listen below and bang your fucking head.” – Headfirst Records
“My first exposure to the dual-guitar Portland four-piece was their 2013 self-titled debut full-length (review here), produced by Steve Austin of Today is the Day, and so I knew somewhat to expect as they took the stage, though they still managed to work in a few surprises in their riff-led blend of thrash, grind, periodic heavy breakdowns and headfirst dives into crunch that brought to mind earliest, heaviest Mastodon without actually losing itself in pseudo-progressive winding. They owed as much to Napalm Death as to any kind of sludge, but seemed to play out that grinding influence on a bed of thickened, sometimes-lurching tonality that made their material as much about groove as about speed. I’d forgotten their connection through guitarist/vocalist Candy and bassist Reuben Little to defunct slow-crawling doomers Ocean, but afterwards that context continued to make sense in line with what guitarist Sean Libby and drummer Michael brought to the proceedings. After one of their songs, someone in the crowd shouted, “Play that riff again!” which was an impulse I could understand. They didn’t, but the next riff turned out to be killer as well, so it all worked out.” – The Obelisk