Primitive Weapons – “Panopticon Blues” (Stereogum Premiere)

The Future Of Death, the second LP by Brooklyn quartet Primitive Weapons, spends a lot of its runtime on of-the-moment social concerns. For example: “Panopticon Blues,” the track we’ve got on the table today, tackles social media-induced paranoia. Ironically, Primitive Weapons’ most obvious influences date to the 1990s, substantially before there was reason to worry that people were judging you on Facebook. The stylistic strains that most inform Primitive Weapons’ music paired highly specific approaches with vague terminology: “metalcore” (the heaving, dissonant, Deadguy-ish kind) and “post-hardcore” (the atmospheric, melodic, tri-state-area kind). Primitive Weapons guitarist & clean vocalist Arty Shepherd was among the latter subgenre’s prime movers as a member of Mind Over Matter, whose brief run inspired many of the subgenre’s best-known names, such as Thursday and Glassjaw. (Shepherd and PW frontman Dave Castillo now operate the Brooklyn metal venue Saint Vitus Bar; in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I know them both personally and have played the venue many times myself.)

That lineage predominates on The Future Of Death, making it something of a full-circle moment for Shepherd. You can hear it clearly in the somber intro and addictive hook from “Panopticon Blues,” but the band still wields a metalcore stick to balance the post-hardcore carrot; listen until the 1:50 mark, and then protect your neck.

The Future Of Death will be out 4/15 via Party Smasher Inc.