Published Mar 11, 2020Blending their love of doom, stoner rock and its attendant psychedelia, Ontario trio Itus have created a colossal debut in Primordial. Intended as the first of two releases that will introduce a future full-length, this EP covers significant ground, from the majestic classical doom of My Dying Bride to the grime-caked sludge of Mindrot.
Emerging from a haze of sub-bass feedback, "Cloud Reader" immediately spotlights the expert clean vocals from Reinier Vandenbosch — and also his gnarly, Neurosis-like growls. Guitarist Brandon Lucking constructs wall after wall of ominous doom riffage, crashing down, yet cemented by Monster Magnet-esque noise samples. "Question Everything" shifts gears with the same whispered vocals that Tiamat frontman Johan Edlund perfected on Wildhoney, before imploding under grim waves of ecstasy and pain.
The title track has the same smothering gravitas as Relapse-era Morgion, as Vandenbosch invokes Coalesce's Sean Ingram (if he sang death metal). Itus jumps to another level with "This Can't Be," an epically mellower, atmospheric track with clean vocals like Callisto. The song widens at the bridge, making room for Lucking's guitar transfigurations as he channels David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix and Paradise Lost's Gregor Mackintosh. "The Chaplain" continues with gloomy, post-hardcore-ish doom, as if Hyatari tried to cover Mournful Congregation.
The Mars-ish desolation across vast ancient oceans on the album cover perfectly captures the tortuous doom of Primordial, and Itus demonstrate their extreme yet controlled savagery. Though the band have stated that this is the heavier of the two planned releases, doom fans can hope that Itus will choose to further their explorations of the brooding dusk. (Independent)