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New Band Of The Week: Primordial Swarm

Primordial Swarm
Primordial Swarm

Sounds Like:
Epic blackened deathcore with a skull-full of sick sci-fi 

For Fans Of:
Ingested, Rings Of Saturn, Dimmu Borgir

Listen To:
Gargantuan Bacterial Tyrant

Music can often seem a little overpopulous and overrun by unimaginative clones… but then something as brain-wrenchingly warped as Primordial Swarm (opens in new tab)’s debut album The Triumvirate Of The Covenant lurches over the horizon. Ostensibly purveyors of good old brutal, slamming deathcore, the British septet have taken that familiar template and dragged it violently into a hideous and surreal dystopian future of their own deranged design. Like the soundtrack to the ultimate sci-fi horror movie, it’s both absurdly exciting and fervently original. As vocalist Joe tells it, the creative talents of bassist James Falconer became the decisive piece of this synapse-frying puzzle.

“Before James got involved the music was very much just ‘slam slam blast bree slam!’ but when he started to compose more and more of the music, everything became more melodic and technical,” he explains. “He introduced fretless basses and eight-string guitars as well as the heavy use of synths, so he transformed Primordial Swarm from your basic slam act into something far more ingenious and powerful. That’s why we christened him with the nickname ‘Slam Odin’!”

With a bewildering dual vocal attack (courtesy of Joe and co-growler Barney) and a startling arsenal of electronic trickery and atmospheric weirdness, Primordial Swarm’s sound simply feels bigger and more cinematic than the vast majority of contemporary deathcore. The Triumvirate Of The Covenant is also a record that brims with mad conceptual ideas, as the band indulge in their passion for epic tales of technological terrorism and other deeply twisted themes. 

“The album tells the story of a man who becomes totally reliant on technology given to him by dark gods,” explains Joe. “He commits acts of horrific violence, but then finds that the gods’ final act is to take everything they gave him away, making him weak. For our next album we plan to go even heavier and to be even more experimental lyrically. We’re doing all sorts, from deep-sea monstrosities to Viking paedophile executions… something for the whole family!” 

One seemingly mundane aspect that sets Primordial Swarm apart from their peers is how much room they take up onstage. Unusually for bands in this subgenre, the seven-piece play everything live, which means that James, drummer Aaron and guitarists Ryan and Rob co-exist alongside their two demented frontmen and keytar/FX maestro Dana, often in an extremely confined space. As James admits, part of the excitement comes from never quite knowing what’s going to happen next.

“Live shows are always a surprise, even for us!” he laughs. “Being a seven-piece can get complicated onstage, but with Ryan climbing on every fucking surface in the venue and Barney and Joe literally piggybacking each other for half the set, it all surprisingly seems to work out!”

Despite geographical challenges – the line-up is partly based in Manchester, partly in Kent – Primordial Swarm seem to be gaining momentum. An affiliation with UK slam titans Ingested certainly hasn’t hurt: that band’s frontman Jason Evans is co-vocalist Joe’s cousin and has been instrumental in pushing his fellow slam merchants on social media. But regardless of friends in slightly higher places, this band have such a distinctive identity and ludicrous ambitions that the future must surely be theirs for the taking.

“There’s already a couple of new tracks in the works,” says James. “Musically, they have a bit more emphasis on the use of orchestras. A full 40-piece was used in Psychotic Synergy on the new album and we want to bring that back! Therefore one aim for the future is to perform alongside an orchestra… which only increases our space issue!” 

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.