Primitive Graven Image
posted on 8/2006 By:
What’s On Tap: Decent black metal demo material from a young English duo...
The Bay Area is a great place to live for a fan of underground metal. Not only do we have a wealth of talent creating some of the most demented shit out there, but we’re also lucky enough to have a number of stores in the area pushing it, and one of underground metal’s most respected labels (Nuclear War Now!) pumping it directly into our very own back yards. The point I’m trying to make is this: I’ve had a veritable smorgasbord of obscure metal releases laid out on a table over the past five years, and during this time I’ve gobbled my fair share of phenomenal demos, horrendously shitty demos, and a surplus of material that seems quite content to muscle along side-by-side down the ol’ “middle-of-the-road”. Primitive Graven Image’s first demo, Hellish Figurines, lands itself squarely into the latter camp, delivering 20-minutes of relatively barren black metal that unfortunately falls short of anything grandiose or that which should be considered essential listening.
Now, before I land myself atop this brotherly duo’s “biggest dickhead” list, I’d like to point out a few of the positive slants Hellish Figurines holds. First of all, and most importantly, it shows promise. In fact, some of the material on display is quite memorable, and does a fine job of paying homage to the bands of yore that paved the way for the “icy, brooding” sound this band claims to be shooting for. Track three, “Of What We Have Become”, easily stands as the demo’s strongest cut of the six. The frigid, cavernous production and lilting, repeating guitar lick brings to mind the more glacial works from bands such as, Nehëmah, or mid-era, mid-paced Darkthrone. The follow up song, “The Journey To the Forest”, also stands fairly strong as it rips ahead at a faster, unmistakably Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, Burzum-ic pace. If Primitive Graven Image were to mix these two together, and put their own spin on things to boot, they’d have a much better chance of securing a following in the black metal realm. The duo’s attempts at infusing thrashier elements (“None Shall Stand”), more traditional, primitive elements (“For All Mankind”), and decidedly Emperor-ish elements (“Blood Red Heart”), unfortunately come across as being a bit callow and devoid of the necessary hooks needed to set the material apart from much of what passes these ears on a weekly basis.
Another point certainly worth mentioning, and a point I find refreshing as hell, is the fact the band has decided to do away with the idea of only offering their demo on a very ‘limited release’ basis. Hellish Figurines is available to download for absolutely free from the bands’ website, so there’s really no reason for any fan of black metal not to at least give them a shot to see whether or not they believe the material is up to snuff. Although I was left fairly unenthused with much of Hellish Figurines, I do believe there's talent in this duo, and I hope they keep at it.
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