The Primevals: Heavy War – album reviewThe Primevals –Heavy War (Beast Records)
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Joe Whyte has been listening to the new album by The Primevals & it has properly been causing him to trip back down memory lane. Here’s his review of it.

I first encountered The Primevals way back in 1983. Singer Michael Rooney had a record stall in a market in the then undeveloped Merchant City. I’d seen him around; at gigs, in the streets and often wondered who this uber-cool stick insect was.

Starting a nervous conversation with him (I would have been 19) he immediately came across as a friendly and extremely switched-on encyclopaedia of underground rock. He sold me a copy of his band’s debut 7” single Where Are you and I was hooked.

Over the years they briefly toyed with the mainstream, but always seemed happier ploughing their own demented furrow of scuzzy, fuzzy, bluesy garage rock.

After a lengthy absence, The Primevals re-emerged in 2010 with Disinhibitor, a scorching return to form.

New album Heavy War continues the trend.

Imagine a parallel universe where the X Factor judges were David Johansen, Sky Saxon and  Arthur Lee; President of the USA is Dee Dee Ramone and Primark only sold leather strides and Cuban heel boots and you’d be somewhere close to Primeval-world.

Opening salvo Way Beyond Tore Up sets the tone for what follows; snarling guitars, winding slide and Rooney’s carnivorous howl served with a side dish of drug-induced psychosis.

The trademark Primevals sound of bourbon-soaked blues is sidelined in favour of a more straight-ahead garage rock, courtesy of returning guitar-slinger Tom Rafferty. High Risk Time fairly steams along with suicidal intent and all the better for it.


Predilection For The Blues opens with a Bo Diddley swing before the ghost of Gun Club mainman Jeffrey Lee Pierce is summoned by Rooney’s murderous croon. Slide guitar from Rafferty echoes Rooney’s preacher man declaiming.

Don’t Be Afraid To Cry is a swampy, sleazy blues with a slinky, serpentine bass line from John Honeyman that recalls the souks of Morocco as closely as the streets of riot- torn 60’s Detroit.

The Lure Of Desire is heralded by gorgeous Hammond organ from Martin Rodgers and recalls the wilder moments of The Seeds and The Standells.  Rooney’s lyrics are part braggadocio, part desperation and lend the song a real tension.

The title track is a five and a bit minute freak out with crazed Pharaoh Sanders-style sax squalls and feedbacking, distorted guitars leading the melody. It’s a trip into a lysergic nightmare that The Doors would be proud to call their own.

The Primevals, declaring Heavy War on insipid music worldwide.

The Primevals website is here. They can also be found on Facebook here.

All words by Joe Whyte. You can read more from Joe on LTW here.

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Joe Whyte is guitarist with punk rockin' Johnny Cash tribute Jericho Hill and reformed 70's punks Reaction. He has formerly played with End Result, Reverend Snakehips Country Messiahs, God-Fearing Atheists and many, many other failed attempts at rock notoriety. Joe also writes for Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War magazine. He lives in Glasgow and in his other less glamorous life works in mental health.


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