ITUS - Primordial (2020)
Marking the first non-single, non-cover release from this Canadian band, Itus' EP Primordial comes together as just over twenty minutes of sludgy doom with an emphasis on melodic hooks. Balancing out that grooviness with high-pressure harshness from the vocals and guitar tone, opening track “Cloud Reader” pulls listeners in with alternations and build-up of those two sides, Good flavor, solid riffing, and impressive back-and-forth between the band-members kicks things off with a strong lead, picked up by “Question Everything”. Changing to a crunching rhythm for the opening portion of its run, the second song settles into a heavy grind, with plenty of change-ups to keep things interesting, and a rattling climax followed by a feedback bridge.
The title track takes middle position, with the vocals mixed into a submerged crush for the slower parts, but rising back up in the mix to match tempo escalations. It also features maybe the hookiest riff on the EP, and finds its counter-weight in a haunting scream before kicking in more of their sludge influence. Rather than settle into a predictable pattern, they follow that with “This Can't Be”, a moody, contemplative piece which takes more from funeral doom in its styling. Drawn-out chord strains and sustained tone adjustments complement the (mostly) clean vocals, pulling thoughts of early Bell Witch material to mind.
Lastly, “The Chaplain” brings the EP to a close on a lush and vibrant note, with early tone study gradually turning to a concrete structure, joined by vocals and regular chording. Taking its pacing carefully, the song grows in sinister intensity and pressure, riding its way up to a pounding crescendo and feedback finish. A very strong first release, and well worth checking out for doom fans looking for something with some brains behind the fuzz.
For Fans Of; Dead Hand, The Hyle, Nest, NIXA, Wolf Blood