Nowadays, thanks in no small part to the Internet, distance cannot stop the spread and progression of genres within metal. Today it is more often found that specific record labels come with their own pre requisite sub genre — Deathwish is rife with Entombedcore bands while Sumeriancore has it’s own last.fm tag! Subliminal Groove Records’ umbrella of music spreads from Oceania to Russia and back, with their newest release hailing from Indiana in the good ole US. The Room Colored Charlatan explore the cosmos with their own brand of electronic spattered progressive deathcore on Primitives and it definitely deserves its place alongside their current label mates.
Much like fellow SubGroove members Nexilva and Lorelei, The Room Colored Charlatan utilize synths and keys heavily in their material, though more inconspicuously. The electronic elements found on Primitives are much more ambient in their execution, with layers of synths swirling around chunky grooves and melding each song into the next. Opening track ‘Instinct’, with its delay ridden guitar intro, is perhaps the best example of the accoutrement of electronic elements. Keys and strings swell in and out before rapidly giving way to gruff vocals and pulverizing guitars. The electronics constantly chime underneath the multi guitar attack right throughout the anthemic mid section of this track before taking centre stage again.
The technical work of guitarists Robert Allen and Justin Seymour should be admired. They use the whole fretboard to create riffs that twist and turn while being capable of throwing down conventional deathcore guitar moments also. The obtuse single string riffs in album closer ‘Nexus Point’ are miles apart from the clean sections in ‘Apex Predator’ but both support their corresponding tracks expertly. There are enough leads and lightspeed licks to keep any guitar nerd in new plectrums also, with the production of the stringed instruments allowing the low register to be just as clear as the towering highs of the leadwork. highlighting the range of influences which The Room Colored Charlatan pull from throughout this album.
The unmistakable influence of The Contortionist can be heard right through Primitives, without ever really becoming a replication of said band. Yes, the breakdown in ‘Questions Of Origin’ could have been lifted from an Exoplanet B-side and the sparsely used clean vocals (which really bring out the best moments of the album) have more than a shade of Intrinsic about them but these are just parts of an immaculately put together interstellar vessel that hits heights that debut album Between Mirrors: The Quantum Immortality could not.
What holds the album, and the band back are certain elements of the production. The drums sound, frankly, not great. While it is understandable that with such crisp guitar tones the drum hits should also sound uniform in execution, the machine like bass drum and the incredibly overpowering snare don’t sit well at all. The title track has an excellent mid section of clean guitar and a roaring lead that is dwarfed by an unfathomably deep snare. The use of bass drops in some other tracks is another staple of deathcore that needs to die a quiet death. They are just unnecessary and all too reminiscent of the genres ugly cousins.
Primitives is a dramatic step up from the debut album from The Room Colored Charlatan. Cohesive songwriting and a union of excellent guitar work and use of electronics pave the way for the band to offer up a simmering blend of old and new deathcore. The death elements may not be in play here, with science-fiction and the universe being primary themes, but the core principles of heavy music are adhered to and tinkered with precisely. Another superb effort to be released through a label that has a crystal clear understanding of the progressive side of this area of metal.
The Room Colored Charlatans’ Primitives gets…