Hey all. It’s Jon, freshly cast out from the land of the employed, and finally ready to stare into the doom that awaits us. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Immersion, the latest from Primitive Man and my first attempt using the Brewer’s Best Scottish Ale Homebrew Recipe Kit.
The Tunes: Primitive Man’s Immersion
Whether it’s either of their previous full lengths or any of the many splits they’ve released, if you’ve heard Denver’s Primitive Man, you’re familiar with their particularly suffocating doom. If you translate that experience into a live concert, ear plugs become functionally useless as concert goers quite literally feel it in their bones. Honestly, the prospect of listening to a new Primitive Man album during a global pandemic is a little daunting, as the world outside seems to want to get on the band’s level, so to speak. Their newest full length Immersion finds the band in a state of sonic near-collapse, with guitarist Ethan McCarthy’s wash of (mostly) guitar noises effectively conveying the all-encompassing nightmare soup that underpins the album’s title. With the notable exception of the blasting first half of “Menacing”, the tempos are slowed to near glacial pace, allowing the aforementioned wall of noise to really saturate the listener. This feeling, while present in previous in the band’s earlier work, becomes the central conceit of this album: abrasive certainly, but over time becoming soothing in an eerie sort of way. Combined with a concise 36 minute run-time, the end result is refreshing; not a word I’d think to use with Primitive Man. To be clear, the band has not lost any of the heavy-as-fuck qualities earned them their reputation, and this is definitely a Primitive Man album. But the material here is organized to highlight specific characteristics that may have previously been overlooked. In the words of C-3PO, “this oil bath is going to feel so good.”
The Booze: Brewer’s Best Scottish Ale Homebrew Recipe Kit
During the initial outbreak of COVID-19, while people were learning how to make sourdough bread in quarantine, I chose instead to give homebrew a try and secured the necessary gear from a friend. But not unlike my hesitation around listening to heavy music like Primitive Man for most of this year, I put off brewing this first batch for months. And once I worked out the logistics of sanitizing, brewing, fermenting, bottling, and then getting to work, the experience was relatively straightforward. Sadly, that’s where the similarities end. For reasons a more experienced brewer could probably discern, the ABV measured in the final product came out to only 2.1%, where the kit’s instructions call for a desired range of 3.25-3.5%. Let’s not kid ourselves, this falls under “user error” rather than any flaw in the kit itself. Fortunately, the combination of caramel and chocolate malts (with the other ingredients), still tasted decent, especially for a first attempt. Certainly it wasn’t unpleasant enough an experience for me to stop trying, which given the increasing speed of societal collapse, is probably a good skill to nurture in the days ahead. It’s like a kid’s macaroni art, you hang it on the fridge, tell them congrats and to keep on going knowing they’ll get better.
Thanks for letting me step in this week to tell you a tale of trying a new hobby, to mixed success. You can’t drink my beer, but you can and should listen to the new Primitive Man. Cheers, and be good to each other.