This is the second time it's happening. Back in the middle of 2019, one day I decided to re-listen to Wintewolf's debut Cycle of the Werewolf (which was also my first vinyl purchase) and at the end of that post, I was wondering about the future of this project, if there was any. Soon afterwards, they surprise released a second full length (review here), which had me scratching my head as if it was a joke then. Fast forward to this year's May, I also re-listened to Precambrian's discography up to date, the two EPs they released in 2014 and 2016, through the 2019 compilation that contained them. In my thoughts, this compilation was more of a concluding mark for the band, but little did I know that they were about to start on fresh, with not an EP, but an actual full length this time.
When the album's single Cryogenian was released some time ago, I didn't believe my eyes that another side-project I was very much into and recently wrote a post about, spawned a full length unexpectedly. Tectonics is barely half an hour long, it contains five new tracks from the band, which has chosen the stripped down, straightforward and combative approach they have been following since day one. Thematics revolving around climatology and geology, thick sound and often incredibly heavy tunes is what characterizes Precambrian, unlike their members' other projects that tend to infuse a lot of melancholy and melody in their music. Though you will not find that kind of atmosphere here, with Tectonics there are some concealed, well placed melodic parts in the songs, that turn events into more epic directions.
For those new to Precambrian, prepare to be met with material that is dense and hostile, where the tools are simple: potent repetitive riffing, hard hitting drums and above all, monstrous growls and screams. The vocals take the record to a different dimension (the singer's growls have been a long time favorite of mine) and make the already impressive, minimalist structures of the compositions even stronger. Moments in "Fossilization", "Archaebacteria" or "Cryogenian" feel like a bulldozer, in a way that is almost rare to find in black metal nowadays. Precambrian have not chosen a color outside black - grey - white - black yet, they don't talk about the typical uninteresting subjects you are used to and above all, are talented in what they do.
"Volcanic Winter", a rather interesting phenomenon on its own, is also a highlight track. Traces of the aforementioned melody are present, along with some of the most monotonous parts of the album, and it works great. One will notice how abruptly tracks get cut when they end, as if there was a continuation that is not in the final mix, a choice that I sense was done consciously and aims to not have a comfortable flow. In normal conditions I would be alienated by this, but Precambrian is not the project that aims for anything different than what they offer. Since this project is very specific musically, I don't know how they want to continue with it but a synth based album, Ildjarn style, would be interesting to hear.
Once you've taken a course in Hate Forest's albums, the next step would naturally be to check and invest into this rather quiet an unknown side project from the universe of Drudkh. Not many bands sound like them and there is nothing friendly in this album, in a sense its release was a very satisfying event for me and another secret wish I had came true. By all means a release that is worth your time, especially if you are into underground extreme metal and you're looking for elements that have been coming and going the recent years during the musical expansion of the genre. Precambrian creates its own thick layer, with hardly any outliers. And for that reason, Tectonics can be assimilated and appreciated as it should.
August 21st, 2020 | Primitive Reaction
Listen to Tectonics: