New experiences can be fun, which is why breaking out of your comfort zone every now and again is a necessary evil. Thus, Musicalypse checked out the HARDCOREHARTAUS event featuring PRIMAL SPIRIT, WATCH YOUR BACK, and SCOLD LPR at Lucky Monkey’s, Lappeenranta, on December 22th, 2017.
PRIMAL SPIRIT is a Russian hardcore band. This was the extent of my knowledge of them when I decided to go see them. Not at all familiar with the genre or the performers, enlargement of comfort zones was inevitable and most welcome. Settling in with a pair of friends in the downstairs of Lucky Monkeys, we waited for the bands to start playing for approximately 1½ hours, since there was no showtime available anywhere.
The first of the evening was SCOLD LPR, a local quartet founded in 2014 (according to their Bandcamp page) that sells their wares at the reasonable price of 666€, was as good as the space allowed them to be. Listening to the music after the fact, it’s pretty clear that they did the right choice by playing at eleven, rather than balancing out their act. The drumwork was awesome to watch and there was an audible feeling of genius every now and again. The drummer almost put on a solo performance, since a lot of the music and singing got drowned in noise. Regardless of that, the cellar was steadily getting more crowded, and a small mass of people was starting to gather.
WATCH YOUR BACK was the next home-brew in the line-up (founded in 2007) that really amped up the hardcore. Their live performance was much more energetic and rehearsed, their bassist jump-stomping with perfect timing to punctuate segments of their songs. Their idea of a moderate tempo was probably around 280 beats per minute, and it was glorious. There were zero questions about what kind of music these guys played, and they played it well. 110% pure hardcore and 0% messing around, this small-time band from Espoo showed what hardcore is about, and that was playing loud, having fun, and kicking
some all the asses.
The meat of the evening, PRIMAL SPIRIT from St. Petersburg, Russia, had its stage set and all warmed up. There were maybe 40-50 people in the downstairs portion of the bar, which was about as many as could fit comfortably, so the atmosphere was pretty dense. The very first thing I noticed was the extremely good sound of the bass drum, which was way clearer and snappier than before. The second thing was that the overall sound of the band was extremely good, transcending the mushed mixing and acoustic limitations of the bar, so their soundcheck had clearly been on point. Some half-assed criticism needs to be given to the vocals, since those weren’t audible some of the time (probably due to the mixing), but that is easily forgivable. Halfway through their set, I noticed my head subconsciously bobbing up and down, since the music was aggressively catchy and the performance mesmerizing. One wouldn’t think you could make a convincing mosh pit out of half a dozen individuals, but PRIMAL SPIRIT somehow managed to pull it off with the extremely limited space and the small number of participants. No encouragement was asked for, nor was it necessary, as their music spoke louder than words could have. These guys deserve a bigger stage, a larger audience, and a chance to record an album with their brand of hardcore. If this band graces us with another gig, I’ll definitely be there to check them out again. They just played well, they played loud, and they had a lot of energy on stage.
Being numb to the ‘shock’ of aggressive and loud music, it is sometimes hard to get into the groove of some gigs. Repetitive, rough riffs and deafening drums sound like an ideal way to wake someone up from torpor, but to a long-time listener of metal such as myself, it seems boring if done ad nauseam. The three groups present at this gathering were all individually good enough to jolt me awake, but PRIMAL SPIRIT most out of all of them. My companions on this venture (not into metal, or -core at all) also said that everything exceeded their expectations and they managed to actually enjoy themselves. That is worth high praise, and I’ll definitely check these guys out once they return.
Written by Kalle Uotila