The metal community has been eagerly awaiting the debut album from Primate, a metallic supergroup featuring Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) on vocals, Bill Kelliher (Mastodon) on guitar, Mike Brennan on guitar, Dave Whitworth on bass and Shayne Huff on drums. In keeping with the popular production trend these days, the band have produced the album themselves.
This album is most definitely metal, but is not what you might expect. Rather than try to outdo the current crop of prog-core virtuosos in the performance stakes, Primate have obviously been on a steady diet of hardcore punk and classic rock/proto metal. The songs are short and sharp and are overflowing with great riffs and hardcore intensity. Vocalist Kevin Sharp doesn’t vocalize with quite the guttural roar he employs in Brutal Truth but there are still some throat shreddingly insane shrieks scattered throughout. Like the aforementioned band however, the lyrics are mostly leftist political rants and that ain’t no bad thing in my opinion.
Bill Kelliher and Mike Brennan are the real heroes of this album as they add invaluable melodic guitar overdubs on top of the bed of hardcore which gives the record a far more interesting appeal than if it were simply straight ahead grindcore. It would never have worked as such because it’s just not fast enough and while it possesses filthily distorted bass, impressive drumming and intense screams, the band have wisely avoided trying to be the fastest or most virtuosic band on the planet and have concentrated on making a widely appealing metal album that non-musicians can enjoy. That’s the problem with a lot of amazingly talented metal musicians. They make music for other musicians. Well guess what? Many, many music fans are NOT musicians, and Primate have created a work that quite simply sounds very good. The riffs are tight, the vocals are impassioned and the band operate very well as a unit. It’s all in the delivery you see. The songs have energy, drive and intensity and will please almost any metal or punk fan. The album is also refreshingly concise, clocking in at a mere 21 minutes! This is very satisfying to this reviewer as I’m sick to death of albums that outstay their welcome, besides with this form of music the songs tend to be quite stylistically similar and a record of this type works best as a short, sharp shock and that’s exactly what Draw Back a Stump is; a raging slab of hardcore intensity that will tear your eardrums asunder!
No real need to name standout tracks as you can just listen to the whole thing, it never deviates in its energetic delivery and all the songs work equally well by themselves. Interestingly enough, the band also eschew the trend of placing longer more epic tracks at the end of the disc. In fact the two most insane, grinding tracks are the final two “Get the Fuck Off My Lawn” and “Reform?”. A great way to end the album because it really makes you want to listen to it again and again!
Primate are never going to set the world on fire with their playing or arrangements, but as a hard and heavy statement of intent, Draw Back A Stump works very, very well.