The crowd at Brisbane’s Crowbar (18 April) stood as still as tombstones.
The music of Denver, Colorado metal trio Primitive Man doesn’t lend itself to moshing. Instead, they lurch at the pace of a man weary from carrying the world’s weight upon his shoulders. While the sight of fans hurling themselves to the rush of blast beats was absent, Primitive Man showed there are no limits to their intensity and despair.
Shrieking vocals were barely audible under the black metal of local openers Siberian Hell Sounds. One guitarist furiously strummed, the other rocked back-and-forth while facing his amplifier; together, they made a symphony of spiky licks and feedback.
As the volume grew, DG the singer spread his feet, threw his head back so far he arched his back and roared into the mic he held above him, finally heard.
Brisbane black metal group Graveir proved a curious sight with their attire. The band’s matching black sleeveless shirts and hoods made newcomers entering the venue do double-takes.
But it was their tunes that kept attention, switching from epic to mournful guitars, and a singer whose mic disappeared in to his hood and amplified the rasps from black void.
More costumes were displayed when Brisbane death metal band Impetuous Ritual emerged. Shirtless, leather loincloths, nails jutting out from wristbands and guitar straps, and black paint smeared on their faces and torsos; they resembled road warriors from a future apocalypse.
Drums galloped at manic speeds, and the band mangled their guitars to produce pure grinding noise all the while gleefully prancing around each other and sending wild-eyed leers into the crowd.
Primitive Man frontman Ethan Lee McCarthy’s guitar coughed chords infected with dissonance and feedback.
He stood facing his band mates; all three slowly swayed to the funeral pace of Joe Linden’s drums towards the centre of the triangle they were positioned in. Upon one strike of Joe’s kit, Ethan lunged forward and roared into his mic. His lungs emptied and then he stepped back to lunge again, this time bending to swing his long dreads further than him.
Between each song, Ethan’s guitar and Jonathan Campos’ bass disintegrated into shrieks of feedback. The noise was broken by Joe’s drums, each powerful hit sending a thump inside chests and beckoned fans to forcefully nod in time to.
The beat had a hypnotic effect on Jonathan; his whole body swung to the beat and his eyes rolled to the back of his head, completely under its power.
After one, final, rabid bark, Ethan and Jonathan turned to their amplifiers shoving their guitars against them. The duo turned knobs, making their instruments hiss and rumble. Satisfied with their noise, the duo put down their guitars and silence enveloped the venue.
One fan paced from the crowd gathered at the stage clutching his heart, excited by Primitive Man’s crushing doom.