Most Underrated Hardcore Album of 2018: Dirge of Escapism, by Primal Rite

Photo: Dan Rawe

The problem with releasing an album in January is how easily it can slip through the cracks come year-end list season. That might be a reason why Primal Rite's exquisite Dirge of Escapism might be overlooked by some other music websites and magazines this month, but the Bay Area's debut album deserves much more than that. 

A supreme amalgamation of the wild spirit of hardcore and the focused precision of thrash metal, Dirge of Escapism is certainly not above showcasing its influences, but throughout its 10 tracks, Primal Rite have done something way more impressive: they've created their own lane.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that guitarists Jake Dudley and Jason Brownstein do not throw down a single space-filling riff on Dirge of Escapism. Every part they drop on tracks like "Antivenom" and "Demon" are crucial pieces to the puzzle, whether it's during a verse, bridge, or any other section of any given song. I especially got all giddy about "Persona," a track that opens with a gorgeous yet eerie twin-guitar intro from Jake and Jason. Oh, and those dive bombs... man. 

My only real complaint about Dirge of Escapism is the way Lucy X's vocals are a bit muddy, but that's something to do with the mix, and shouldn't fall on the performer. That said, Lucy launches each line with an authoritativeness that bursts through the gruff vocals with convincing force. 

Photo: Dan Rawe

Like I stated above, Dirge of Escapism is Primal Rite's first full-length, so for the group to sound this fully realized at such an early point in their recording career is quite a feat. Much like I wrote in my Mindforce piece yesterday, here's to hoping that Primal Rite can transcend bullshit genre barriers and find their way to audiences who might normally ignore a band tagged as "hardcore." Whatever people call Primal Rite, I'll ride for them as long as they're this great.


Dirge of Escapism is available now via Revelation Records.

Tagged: primal rite