Remember when The Contortionist released Exoplanet and everyone lost their minds because it was one of the most awesome things ever? Here was a band taking deathcore and actually getting a little creative with it. It wasn’t a perfect album by any means, but that guitar solo in “Flourish” (you know the one – don’t play that game) still makes my hairs stand up on end. Of course, it’s history now that The Contortionist went on to lose the plot completely with Intrinsic, but that’s where The Room Colored Charlatan come in.
In a word – wow. These Indiana natives are incredible. Where the hell did they come from? Indiana, I guess – stupid question, anyway, these guys have drawn a lot of comparisons to Between the Buried and Me and I’m not entirely sure that’s fair on either band. Not that either band is bad (I assure you, they are not), but more due the stylistic difference. Apart form the fact that the musicianship is technical and the vocals are screamed, TRCC and BTBAM are about as different as a giraffe and a sunflower.
While BTABAM are very avant-garde and highly reliant on samples, synthesisers and electronic wizardry, TRCC are far more direct in their approach. I’m not saying that they don’t use electronic tricks, I’m just saying that, rather than having a synthesiser and extensive samples, Primitives is an album that comprises almost exclusively of five dudes, a couple of guitars, a bass and a drum kit. In a scene where every band is just drowning everything in dubstep and calling it a day, listening to such a meticulously and lovingly crafted record is a breath of fresh air. Dare I say it, but I like this album more than I like any of the BTBAM records.
The class doesn’t stop at the raw, humble nature of the music, though. The musicianship is superb throughout the record. I understand that Primitives is TRCC’s sophomore effort and already having an album under your belt makes a world of difference in terms of composition. Listening to little delicious ironic moments like commencing “Apex Predator”, one of the heaviest songs, with a gentle, ethereal guitar lick is the kind of seemingly irrelevant detail that makes me swoon. I also like albums that open with an extended slow builder that has time to develop into something special (kind of like The Birds of Satan’s Self-Titled debut album), while still having every moment on display – and that is precisely what album opener “Instincts” does. The second track “Native Habitat” is a gentle, atmospheric instrumental that’s continues it’s delicate, ethereal quality into the aforementioned “Apex Predator”.
The title track is another diverse standout, but the real triumph on the record is ‘The Atlas Artifact”. It builds slow, taking one and a half minutes of its nearly eight minute run time before the percussion kicks in, but man, when it does, thou shalt excrete masonry. And why yes, you perceptive devil, the song titles are indicative of a transcendental theme. I was denied a lyric booklet, but I believe it to be something relating to environmental degradation and mankind’s mantle of responsibility to itself and the planet we inhabit, as well as interstellar travel – because screw it, everyone else is doing it, nowawdays. They’re lucky, because I’ll accept environmental messages in this kind of music. I won’t accept it in films where I came to watch Homer Simpson save his family with a wrecking ball or where giant robots battle giant extra terrestrial monsters that are coming through a portal at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Sorry, I digress. Long story short: Primitives is a bloody brilliant album that harkens the glory days of The Contortionist’s Exoplanet. It’s a mature, record that is very subtle in it’s development and how much it presents itself to you at any given time. It’s kind of like the new Godzilla movie: only showing you as much as it needs to, and you’ll fall for it hook, line and sinker.