The Room Colored Charlatan hail from Indiana, and the quintet are on the cusp of breaking into the collective consciousness of those who enjoy something a little more on the difficult, but listenable, side. Intricate details fall into their sound, but by no means does that suggest that Primitives errs on the technical-for-technical’s-sake edge of the sphere. The Room Colored Charlatan know their way around a tune, and their second record shows a deft maturity and an awareness of how to construct and create a song – something that a lot of bands take their sweet time in doing. Vocals are deep, guttural and powerful, and in Jared Bush the band have a frontman who can convey emotions during those moments of otherwise aggressive sound. First track, “Instinct,” bursts into life on sweetly rendered guitar tones full of sound and nuance, and when the song steps back into more atmospheric territory to take in gorgeous string movements and softer shades, there’s no loss of coherence – instead, the band work those more subdued effects into the fabric of the music and allow it to breathe and form its own path through the song.
“Native Habitat” is a short interlude which bridges the gap nicely from the first to the next track, and “Apex Predator” storms into being on odd time signatures and groove-laden riffs that are sure to get even the hardest of metal fans bobbing their heads. The title track is a huge monster of a song, and within it, The Room Colored Charlatan explore different soundscapes, adding passages that work with the flow of the song and lift it out of the depths and into new realms of hopefulness. Clean vocals appear alongside mournful guitar progressions and a hidden, barely perceptible choral element creeps in to carry the track into “Questions of Origin.”
The Room Colored Charlatan are a young band, but Primitives is a keen indicator that they are planning on going very far indeed. While they may not be showcasing anything new here and can sometimes slip into clichéd sounds (those bass drops and that chug), the record is a defiant stamp on the musical world and for them, an incredible starting point. Having produced, mixed and mastered it themselves, there’s a clear awareness of their own sound, and it’s lovingly put together – from opening note to the mostly instrumental “The Atlas Artifact” to the closing notes of “Nexus Point” – which features ex TesseracT vocalist Daniel Tompkins – although perhaps the band are a little too close, as at times some small elements become a little overwhelming. Still, Primitives can hold its own with The Room Colored Charlatan’s peers and in time they’ll be one of those bands that younger groups look up to.
Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about techy, progressive rock and roll and as such this write up isn’t full of comparisons or notes on who to check out (although the most obvious are Between The Buried And Me, The Contortionist and TesseracT). Generally I head into a record with no preconceptions and if it’s good, it gets a solid review – which Primitives absolutely deserves.