"We started the band in 2019 with some friends of mine who were all hardcore kids," says Alex Cloutier, vocalist of Québec band Primal Horde. "It started at first as a power violence/noise band combining harsh noise, drums and a single bass guitar plugged in an HM2. While it was fun to play, it felt a bit too chaotic.
"We then got joined in late 2019 by Nick James on the guitar and started exploring a more death metal sound which ended up reshaping our idea of Primal Horde into an old-school death metal influenced hardcore band. The idea was to bring a death metal tone with the guitar, but to also keep a groove/hardcore drumming."
Ah yes, death metal with hardcore-driven groove. Some folks might refer to that style with a certain controversial genre tag. But I'll let Alex break that down for us: "I would describe our sound as (bare with me) true deathcore.
"When I hear deathcore, like Despised Icon, for example, I hear a mix of tech death and slam death, while slam is clearly influenced by hardcore, it’s not exactly the Cannibal Corpse mixed with some Merauder that I hear when I think of the word deathcore."
The singer continues: "With the new wave of death metal bands being clearly influenced by hardcore like Creeping Death, 200 Stab Wounds, and Saguisugabogg, I felt like this crossover could be more than a death metal band that you can tell yourself: 'Oh yeah, those guys probably listen to hardcore.'"
Whatever you call what Primal Horde is doing, their recently released Blood River EP is some gnarly stuff:
"The lyrical themes covered in Primal Horde are usually centred around cults, tribalism and a lot of Robert E. Howard worship. I’m a huge fan of his work on Conan the Barbarian and use it as a source of inspiration on most songs.
"I also take influences from Dungeon & Dragons, which 'Rage Beyond Death' is based on. Most lines in this song are pretty much barbarian abilities and feats from the game, I hope someone rolls a D20 in the pit before decking someone if it rolls a crit when we play this live."
Alex is clearly fired-up on the subject of Primal Horde's local music community: "The hardcore scene in Montreal is absolutely crazy right now. Since the end of our COVID regulations, which were pretty strict here in Montreal, the scene is more alive than it's been in years.
"Before COVID, it felt the scene was starting to lose some breath, always the same old faces in the crowd in every gig. But since last year, we see a lot of new young faces, eager for violent music and violent dancing. We really feel an interest for the local scene that I haven't seen in ages, the local shows are often as much or even more packed than popular touring bands."
How about some recommendations? "The Montreal scene has much to offer with bands like Prowl, Scorching Tomb, Desecrate, Scaramanga, and so many others. It feels weird how alienated from the US hardcore scene Montreal is on the international scale when it’s a six-hour drive from the birthplace of hardcore culture in NYC."
Putting action to words, Alex and his Primal Horde cohorts are giving back to their beloved hometown:
"We are organizing an all local fest, the Montreal Madhouse, by and for the Montreal hardcore scene on Febuary 17th and 18th with the best bands that our scene as to offer. The goal is to make this fest a yearly event and to attract outside bands in the next years by showing them how much Montreal has a taste for violent music."
Primal Horde on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp
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