This might be surprising to you, but I’m kind of bad at following bands I like. Rare is the time where I find a cool, new band and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Bandcamp immediately, then I’ll act surprised they drop new music and I wasn’t aware until weeks or months after the fact. It’s like that surprised Pikachu meme where something happened that was totally predictable and yet, here I am, slack-jawed that a band I like released music and I was unaware. This wasn’t the case with Nick Stanger.
Since I discovered and reviewed their cosmic existential death metal masterpiece under the name Xythlia, I’ve kept tabs on Stanger and the many projects they occupy themself with (of course I realized after the fact that Stanger is also a key part of Ashbringer who I was already familiar with). Because of this, I was not surprised when I saw him announce Primordial Ooze a couple weeks ago, labeled as ‘REGRESSIVE DEATH METAL FROM BENEATH THE WASTE, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO THOUGHT XYTHLIA DIDN’T GO FAR ENOUGH‘. The news came with album art for what would be their debut, Parasitic Intoxicant, and a single, “Gorilla Attack”, and, holy shit, what a single it is. I decided to gorilla grip upon the opportunity to speak to the band for our ever-present Weekly Featured Artist institution and they were kind enough to oblige me, in all-caps lock candor which, as y’all should know, I appreciate.
Self-described as, and I want to make it clear I’m quoting the band’s own IG page, ‘A MANIFESTATION OF THE COLLECTIVE AUTISM‘ of Niko Hasapopoulus (bass, vocals), Robert Northrup (lead guitars, also of Vondt), and Stanger (rhythm guitars and drum machine, also of Ashbringer, Xythlia, No Heroes, Wishfield, and more), Primordial Ooze are one of the most crushing and abrasive bands I’ve heard this year. But they’re not just an music group – they’re an entity, nearly a hivemind, with a history and purpose. I’m not entirely sure I learned exactly what that purpose is throughout my encounter with the band, but I do get the notion it’s deep and storied, like primordial ooze itself. All answers were given from a collective point-of-view.
The first question I wanted to ask was: why? Why this, why now? I got more than I bargained for, but a fresh insight into the band nonetheless. ‘LOOK AROUND YOU, THE ANSWER SHOULD BE CLEAR. WE ARE ON THE PRECIPICE OF HIS REINCARNATION. AS ‘HUMAN BEINGS’ WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE THE GREAT REGRESSION.’ The band goes on to say they have been personally bestowed ancient knowledge sourced directly from ‘HIS CEREBRAL CRATERS‘ and that they ‘FULLY COMPREHEND THE TRUE SCOPE OF NATURE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS ON REALITY.’
This is probably a good time to go into what makes Primordial Ooze who they are. The band seem very preoccupied with a greater being, a god of sorts, named Gorb, and a Great Regression, wherein I think the tone of the music is sourced. Primordial Ooze speak of this Great Regression as both a threat and an inevitability as we’ll see soon enough, and I believe it has to do with the reincarnation of Gorb. The band has a motto that seems to be repeated often: ‘THOSE WHO THINK THEY CAN LEARN THE TRUTH WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED MASTER WILL FALL INTO ERROR AND CONFUSION‘. It’s also the title of the closing track on Parasitic Intoxicant.
You click play on one of the song embeds yet? Their music is utterly primal and base; primitive, yet also, importantly, primate-ive. In other words, very ape-centric and of the jungles of death and despair. Listening to just about any song on Parasitic Intoxicant is the sonic equivalent to getting dick-stomped by a silverback. The sounds are unequivocally cacophonous and relentless – you’ll know fairly quickly whether this is a band that you want to indulge in or not.
But how did this all come to be? The band tells me that Stanger and Northrup met in a middle school special education class which is benign enough, but it’s perhaps when Hasapopoulus comes into the picture that things get really interesting.
‘WE FOUND NIKO ON OUR FIRST JUNGLE EXPEDITION. HE WAS HIDING FROM THE SIMIAN SIMULACRUM BENEATH THE WASTE OF A WAR TORN VILLAGE. THE ‘HUMAN’ AGGRESSORS SENT AN ARMY OF ARTIFICIAL APES TO RETRIEVE THE ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE FROM THE DISCIPLES OF GORB THAT WOULD EVENTUALLY BE BESTOWED UNTO ME. THEY FAILED, BUT NOT WITHOUT DOING A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE FIRST.’
Hasapopoulus was raised by the band as one of their own, sent to the school of ravenous death metal until adulthood (420 months to be exact, though expedition was ordered to secure the proper forming of the band during trying times), and he is now a graduated ‘PROPHET OF THE SACRED WAYS‘.
It’s true that Primordial Ooze‘s content is nigh-indecipherable, even by death metal standards. Most of what you can glean from the music is contextually aided by the song titles or the contents of their Instagram page where Gorb and The Great Regression relevant memes are shared with the force of a Donkey Kong punch. The band is well aware of this and while efforts to rectify it in order to spread the teachings of Gorb, there’s been a few… monkey wrenches thrown into their plans if you will.
‘ONE DIFFICULTY WE’VE BEEN HAVING IN PUTTING THIS RECORD OUT IS THE HIGH EMPLOYEE TURNOVER AT OUR PRIMARY LABORATORY. WE INTEND FOR THE LYRICS TO BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE ISSUE THAT ARISES WITH THIS IS THAT SO FAR, EVERY TIME WE’VE HIRED A TEAM OF TRANSCRIBERS FOR THIS TASK, THEY DROP DEAD INSTANTLY UPON THEIR FIRST GLANCE AT THE LYRICS.
‘WHAT I’M TRYING TO GET AT IS THAT IT WOULD BE PROFOUNDLY DIFFICULT FOR THE NEUROTYPICAL ‘HUMAN’ MIND TO COMPREHEND OUR END GOAL. DOING SO HAS ALREADY COSTED LIVES, AND WE HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE BODIES WILL EVER STOP PILING UP. THAT BEING SAID, THIS SHOULD NOT BE USED AS AN EXCUSE TO IGNORE THE GREAT WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE THERE IS TO BE GAINED BY CONSUMING OUR PENITE (IN GORB’S TONGUE, PENITE MEANS ‘SCRIPTURE’).’
This is something I’m sure we’re all familiar with to varying degrees – plans often don’t go smoothly, especially lately it seems, and there’s always a problem waiting around the corner. Still, that doesn’t stop the absolute runaway apeshit train that Parasitic Intoxicant is. Housing some of the most dense music I’ve heard this year, it’s inhumanly brolic. “Bile Lizard” is a standout with its cavernous percussion intro and speaker-shaking midsection. It’s about as close to an earthquake as you can get without all the shit falling off your walls, though I guess if your sound system is big enough, this is happening regardless.
“Cannabis Cannibalensia; or, the Obfuscation of the “Supposed” Forbidden Phenotypes (Distant Realms of the Jungle)” on the other hand is by far the longest track at just over ten minutes, a huge change from the two-minutes-or-less hurricanes of tracks that make up much of the rest of the album (I’d like to think these were sized in this manner because it’s the approximate time it takes for a wild great ape to wallop you into a fine paste). This song is a gurgling nightmare, ramping up gradually into something that seeks to strip the skin off your body. The solo in the center of the song is about as melodic as you’ll hear Primordial Ooze get, with even the drums becoming coherent and comparatively peaceful. It doesn’t last though, as it shouldn’t.
Just as the complete dissonant qualities soon return to Primordial Ooze‘s music, it makes one particular note the band gave me very salient in hindsight: ‘PRIMORDIAL OOZE IS, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, AN INEVITABILITY‘. Which begs the question: what even fuels a chaotic machine such as this, besides of course the nature of their inevitability and Gorb Himself?
‘GORILLAS (NOT THE BAND), PRIMAL SCREAM (NOT THE BAND), THE MONKEYS (NOT THE BAND), GORB, PS1 CLASSIC APE ESCAPE, ARCTIC MONKEYS (NOT THE BAND), (THE) JUNGLE, WEED, BOOZE, RUNNIN’ AROUND, BANANAS, FUNNY JOKES AND/OR A GOOD LAUGH, MY GYM PARTNERS, A MONKEY SMOKING WEED.’
Sounds like a damn party to me. I must be upfront that listening to Primordial Ooze does come with a warning through. When asked what the band would like people to take away from their music, I was given a troubling answer that I feel is a matter of public safety to share here and now:
‘IT’S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT WE ‘WANT’ LISTENERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE RECORD, IT’S MORE OF A ‘HERE IS A LIST OF SOME VERY SERIOUS SYMPTOMS THAT HAVE BEEN REPORTED TO IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW THE CONSUMPTION OF THIS ALBUM‘:
‘DEATH, DIARRHEA, TESTICULAR TORSION, TUMMY ACHES, PSYCHEDELIC VISIONS, LAWSUITS, WAKING FROM THE DREAM, LOSS OF PUBIC HAIR, SHRUNKEN ASSHOLE, ERROR AND CONFUSION, WORSHIP OF THE FALSE GOD BORRAL, A MILD COUGH.’
I mean, doesn’t sound much worse than the side-effects of some meds I see commercials for on TV, but concerning nonetheless. I’m about on my third loop of Parasitic Intoxicant right now as I write this and I definitely have a tummy ache, so let’s try to wrap this up before I am visited by the false god Borral.
You may get the idea that Primordial Ooze is a joke, a one-off thing for pals to do with free time, but I when asked about the potential longevity of this project, I got an answer so radically verbose it could only be captured by emojis, the cave drawings of our time:
And that just about says it all. I believe until we are entered into The Great Regression, either by force or our own will, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Primordial Ooze. The teachings of Gorb are plentiful and what they lack in digestibility, they more than make up for in sheer truth, power, and salvation. If you want a ripping good time, you’d do well to read up on your scripture and listen to Parasitic Intoxicant on the daily until either your head explodes or you return to monke. The final word from the band should be your only rule, an inevitability in and of itself:
‘THOSE WHO THINK THEY CAN LEARN THE TRUTH WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED MASTER WILL FALL INTO ERROR AND CONFUSION.’
Primordial Ooze is…
Niko Hasapopoulus – bass, vocals
Robert Northrup – lead guitar, lyrics
Nick Stanger – rhythm guitar, drum machine
You can follow the band into the jungle at your own peril on Instagram and Bandcamp, where you can listen to Parasitic Intoxicant in full as it was released on October 29 via Sound of the Northwoods. HAIL GORB.