Monday 25 June 2018

Black Helium - Primitive Fuck (Album Review)

Release date: July 20th 2018. Label: Riot Season Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Primitive Fuck – Tracklisting

1.Drowsy Shores
2.Love The Drugs
3.Wicked Witch
4.Summer Spells
6.Curtains At The Mausoleum
7.Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight?
8.Primitive Fuck


Stuart Gray (vocals/guitar)
Beck Harvey (vocals/bass)
Davey Mulka (guitar)
Ben Davies (drums)


Black Helium is a band that is very hard to describe. Their debut album – Primitive Fuck - has many complex sounding riffs that blend Stoner Rock, Drone, Doom, Psych, Noise and even Krautrock for a different style of music. I was quite anxious to listening to the album as the short video trailer that accompanied the press release confused me more than it should. As it showed that Black Helium would be playing a highly experimental style of Drone/Stoner/Doom music.

I shouldn't have worried as the band is currently signed to Riot Season Records and that great label are experts at signing genuinely weird underground bands who deserve wider recognition. Bad Guys and Henry Blacker are just two bands I wouldn't be aware of without Riot Season Records help. I have to thank them here as Black Helium is a breath of fresh air to the Hard Rock/Heavy Music scene.

The only way I can describe this album is Black Sabbath jamming with Hawkwind but then given a Krautrock makeover. Each of the songs allows Black Helium's music to grow naturally. The album is undeniably heavy and shows huge amounts of originality especially when the band opt for a traditional Doom/Stoner Rock sound.

The opening two songs - Drowsy Shores and Love The Drugs - feel they come from two different bands. As they sound quite different to each other. Drowsy Shores is a drone/krautrock odyssey whilst Love The Drugs is more of a seventies Psychedelic Doom Sabbathian Affair. These two songs show the listener what to expect on this album and this is to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

Other songs such as Wicked Witch, Summer Spells, Curtains At The Mausoleum and Primitive Fuck offer perhaps the heaviest and craziest sounds on the album. The vocals are quite different as well. Some of the songs have traditional style vocal arrangements. However other parts of the album sees Black Helium opt for a more experimental style of vocals. This shouldn't really work. However to Black Helium's credit they excel creating something out of the ordinary and as a result, the album becomes a more well-rounded experience because of this.

The production is superb from the start. As the album sounds strangely weird and dangerously hypnotic at the same time. The instrumental work can be quite hard to follow at first. However multiple listens will soon rectify that issue. Primitive Fuck is not your most straightforward Heavy Rock album. However it doesn't need to be.

As Black Helium are creating a new style of Doom/Stoner Rock. The album is highly experimental but there is a lot of hidden delights and surprises that will impress the most jaded of Doom/Stoner Rock fan. This album is a triumph and proves that Black Helium deserve all the plaudits coming their way.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Riot Season Records for the promo. Primitive Fuck will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Riot Season Records from July 20th 2018.