Wind in His Hair – Future Primitives Review

When we think crust punk and in particular its blackened interpretations, it wouldn’t be remiss to think of acts like Young and In the Way, Ancst, or Trap Them – acts defined by violence. Berlin’s Wind in His Hair, named after Rodney A. Grant’s Lakota character in the 1990 movie Dances with Wolves, settles in violence’s wake rather than any assault of its own. Debut Future Primitives is undeniably blackened crust punk, focusing on the earth’s destruction and the marginalization of indigenous peoples throughout, common enough themes especially throughout the punk counterculture. Veganism and the straightedge lifestyle define both members Crii and Fern’s creed. Crust punk’s trademark rebellious spirit courses through the album and the razor wire of black metal is never foregone, and Wind in His Hair shows that the destruction of innocents is something to be mourned.

Having released EP Earthwrecker in 2017 to quiet applause, Wind in His Hair’s debut and first offering in five years is far more feral. Future Primitives embraces crust punk more passionately, offering d-beats aplenty alongside its emotive chord progressions, shimmering leads, and chunky riffs. Musically, the act recalls a punkier Harakiri for the Sky in its auditory emotion, like nature-inspired post-black fed through the crust punk machine. All that to say, while Wind in His Hair offers plenty of melody and riffs to guide its reverence for Mother Earth and lamentation over the treatment of indigenous peoples, Future Primitives’ bite is lacking.

Wind in His Hair is at its best when moving smoothly from passages of punky intensity to chunky riffs to atmoblack blastbeats and tremolo. Opener “Modernity Undone” is perhaps the best example of these transitions – melody taking front and center – as Fern’s hardcore-inspired breakdowns and punky passages beneath the diminishing melody amplify the desperation in Crii’s vocals. Similarly, “Earth First” features a blackened flavor of a Dark Funeral blastbeats-and-tremolo package, while the simmering double-bass and melodic wavering solos of “Civilization and Its Discontents” make for a build-up to the epic concluding “Future Primitives.” The title track is as earthy and organic as Wind in His Hair can muster, featuring Wolves in the Throne Room folk plucking and a slow-burn post-rock crescendo that would make Envy envious. Although crust punk with a straightedge drive pulsing from the core, Future Primitives never flies off the rails with energy, always concocting well-composed tracks with mournful melody in mind. The best tracks are the opener and closer, making a good impression and leaving on a good note, with enough tasteful experimentation strewn throughout the middle. The production and mix favor the melody, so the riffs and punk moments are given a crisp and nimble quality that adds to the fluidity.

However, given how melodic and crystalline Wind in His Hair is, the crust punk energy and black metal bite that give acts like Young and In the Way and Wolfbastard that je ne sais quoi are lacking. In a strange turn of events, a criticism of many a metalcore band, the only moments of brutality or punishment falls into Wind in His Hair’s breakdowns in “Modernity Undone” and “Civilization and Its Discontents” – lacking elsewhere. The aforementioned Harakiri for the Sky comparison also offers the same criticism: Crii’s husky barks can act as a wrecking ball to Fern’s intricate and delicate compositions. While this is largely a matter of taste, the vocals become an even more jarring issue when “Earth First” hits, suddenly piercing shrieks pounding into the suddenly insane blastbeats. While the track is by no means bad, neither second-wave trope had been adequately established before blindsiding Future Primitives well into the runtime. Furthermore, “Reap the Storm” is derailed by sloppy drumming, an otherwise solid melody and a slew of performances dismantled.

I was a bit disappointed with Future Primitives, especially compared to its morose predecessor. Wind in His Hair features an undeniably unique interpretation of blackened crust punk in its unlikely fusion with atmoblack. It features a nicely written blend of riffs, second-wave tropes, just enough hardcore meat, and a message well worth hearing – all through the context of melody and mourning. “Modernity Undone,” “Civilization and Its Discontents,” and the title track are well worth the time, but there are too many snafus plaguing the others and a bite sorely lacking throughout to capitalize upon the duo’s sky-high potential. Mourning and desperation have their place; I just know Wind in His Hair has more fight in them.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Supreme Chaos Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: March 31st, 2023

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