Fuzzy guitars, trudging riffs and more history than you could shake a proverbial stick at, doom metal is the home of metal music, yet so often provides a blurry intersection between Hard and Blues Rock and metal itself and the intriguingly named Telekinetic Yeti have straddles that line with aplomb in their psychedelic infused ode to doom new and old – “Primordial.”
It’s instantly apparent in the fist and title track “Primordial” that this is going to be a loud and noisy listen, with an extremely thick and formidably hazy guitar launching a sonic assault on your ears, whilst psychedelic high notes ring out across the foreboding musical landscape that is rapidly seeping into the listener’s psyche. You have to hand it to Telekinetic Yeti that they come out of the gates so hard and raw with such a bombastic affair, it really gets you excited for what comes next and at just over four-minutes-and-forty-seconds, it’s the perfect length for the sound it has and the context it is within.
“Ancient Nug” is the perfect act to follow, with it’s droning semi-harsh vocals and uninhibited swagger, layering on the psychedelic/stoner elements and turning reverb up to 11. “Ancient Nug” sounds like gazing into a multicoloured abyss that seems to never end, yet has clear and defined segments of change, with complimentary and clashing segments bleeding into a dialectical dualism of sorts. For a doom metal song, the pace certainly picks up after around two minutes of the song becoming quite hard driving and transitive in the process of doing so and ultimately concluding with a juicy if not slightly over-extended conclusion.
A lot of doom metal projects seem to think that “doom” means you just play music in a really stale, deflated way, lacking energy or change and simply trying to create a despondent wall of noise that trudges along with its head firmly fixed at the ground, but Telekinetic Yeti truly understand what doom metal is. They know that you can attack the subject matter and style with energy, that you’re not constrained to low tempos and monotonous riffing, that evoking a sense of doom is as much about creating an atmosphere of uncertainty by using dynamic flair as it is about simply having long drawn-out sections of repetitious tension. The unique approach to fostering a sense of doom is easily the best part of the album.
The third track, “Ghost Train Haze” certainly lives up to the “haze” moniker (I am aware it is used in a Marijuana sense, but still) with one hell of a thick guitar that just seems that little bit turned up than the first two opening tracks. This is also the first track on the album to have full on harsh vocals, which are well executed and are a compliment to the song. I do tend to prefer clean vocals in my doom metal, but they feel right here and are sparing enough that they don’t jolt you out of the trance that the song so earnestly creates.
Following this up is the equally solid “Stoned Ape Theory” which perhaps opens with a more alt-rock style riff than you might initially expect, but alt-rock influences do adorn the entire album in various intensities. This track is also the longest on the album at just over five-and-a-half minutes, but it never feels needlessly long and remains consistently compelling from its energetic start to its melodic and intricate middle, all the way along to it’s concrete and tangible ending.
The biggest issue that “Primordial” faces is the general lack of variety in the compositions up to this point, it is ever so slightly stale, and the sound itself whilst distinctive is not so far away from other acts in the genre (Electric Wizard, Acid Mammoth) that it doesn’t all feel a bit familiar beyond a certain point. However, I personally happen to like the sound enough that after 20 minutes of the album, I’m still having a great time with the music.
We’re treated to a brief interlude in the fifth entry of the album “Light in a Dying World.” It’s a fairly decent solo, it’s short enough to not really matter a whole lot but is relatively pleasant if unremarkable, it’s a useful change of pace anyway.
One of the highlights of the album however is “Beast” with its runaway riffage and it’s restrained yet energetic percussion, this is a great example of the sound that Telekinetic Yeti put forth and is really quite something. I adore the way in which it speeds up and slows down and sort of shifts and contorts as it goes, it’s a supremely dynamic experience that makes full usage of the talent on display between the bands two members. The production is super messy here too, but that actually works in favor of the song and perfectly suits the sonic intent of the track which serves as proof not everything has to be mixed and mastered perfectly to sound good and actually shows that, in my opinion, more often than not production that is rough round the edges lends a character to the music that it is showcased by.
The following effort, “Token Wizard” is the albums first delve into a more restrained and calm intro, with a shimmering and bright synth part creating images of surreal beauty and tranquillity, before we’re snapped into more swaggy and gratuitous riffage, this album is all about its riffs, it’s almost entirely guitar centered and that choice is very obvious in this song. Everything is compositionally geared towards complimenting the creative and catchy guitar parts that adorn almost every second of the album – if you’re a fan of super prominent guitars then this song is the one to go to first (if you don’t listen in album order.)
It’s interesting just how the psych-rock elements have been melded into “Primordial.” Instead of just throwing in some wacky synths everywhere or adding a large amount of vocal distortion, they’ve created a psychedelic atmosphere via the ways in which the instruments interact with one another within the tracks themselves, often merging together into a wall of sound, hard to decipher and yet wonderfully intuitive. It gives the compositions some life and color and a distinctive personality on top of that and it’s another core part of the sound that Telekinetic Yeti like to craft.
A perfect example of this is song number eight, “Rogue Planet” which itself shines like a star gone nova amongst the other fixtures of the album. One of the softer songs on the album, it’s a necessary change of pace from what had become too samey and stale and its softer nature allows the aforementioned psychedelic elements to really shine through in their best light. It really says something when the atmosphere of a song elevates it from being something you listen to and into something that you experience, with visions of far-off lands and astronomical phenomena flooding into your mind courtesy of this most noxious and mind-melting concoction.
“Tides of Change” however steps up the intensity again, whilst additionally letting the blues elements that pervade doom metal steal the show, with some solo work, some call and response style guitar play and restrained yet active percussion. If you like your rock and metal to be groovy, then “Tides of Change” will surely delight you to no end.
It’s great that Telekinetic Yeti have chosen to wear the blueprints of the genre on their sleeves, I think by and large doom is a genre that’s got a distinctive sonic core that ought to be preserved more than tinkered with and that a lot of modern efforts seem to really struggle to evolve the genre in a way that just ends up feeling unfocused and messy, there are flashes of that for time to time in “Primordial” for sure, but it’s often very fleeting and likely only to come across when assessing the album critically as opposed to in general listening. “Primordial” more often than not feels like a tasteful evolution of the traditional doom sound that never strays so far from the roots of the genre that it feels convoluted or tacky.
As the name “Invention of Fire” may suggest, track number nine is a sludgy affair that relies upon its simple, perhaps even “caveman” style riffs with a noodly guitar layered over the top adding some flavor to proceedings. It’s pretty much the same as the majority of the album though, with nothing that stands out an awful lot barring a section at the half way mark where the tempo is accelerated quite a bit before deconstructing into a very contemporary chug section, which is a little bit anti-climatic and not particularly well handled.
All things must come to and end though, and that ending here is “Cult of Yeti” All of the main elements of the bands sound are here, the thick guitars, that relaxed yet impactful percussion, the hoarse semi-harsh vocals and the little Psychedelic and Blues Rock flairs that define the bands take on the doom metal genre. As I always emphasise, the job of the last track on an album is to be conclusive and to tie in all sonic, thematic, compositional and aesthetic loose ends and “Cult of Yeti” does this serviceably, even if it’s not the most exciting song on the record, and the novelty of the bands sound has eventually worn off by this point.
“Primordial” is a well-handled and engaging work of doom metal dirgery and deserves many plaudits for it’s mature and evolved sound that brightly displays the roots of the genre it exists in but in a contemporarily re-contextualised way, it may not change much within itself but it has more than enough in its hyperfocused sound to be worth a listen or two for any doom metal devotee that dares to enter it’s trippy clutches.
Released By: Tee Pee Records
Release Date: July 8th, 2022
Genre: Doom / Stoner Metal, Heavy Psych
- Alex Bauman / Guitars, Vocals
- Rockwel Heim / Drums
- Ancient Nug
- Ghost Train Haze
- Stoned Ape Theory
- Light in a Dying World
- Toke Wizard
- Rogue Planet
- Tides of Change
- Invention of Fire
Fuzzy, harsh, groovy and thick with a hazy atmosphere, Telekinetic Yeti’s “Primordial” is a modern and well-constructed doom metal album that despite it’s flaws remains a worthy listen and a real interest builder for the future of the band