Primitive Warfare’s annihilating debut full-length offensive ‘Extinction Protocol’ strikes as a plutonium- and uranium-enriched audial assault, an earth-scorching sonic warhead crafted with supreme Satanic intent and primed to detonate in the ear canals of its unsuspecting prey. One of the two agents behind this devastating discharge, Pu239 – who accepts responsibility for Atomic Matter Battery and Operatic Moral Torment – discusses the likelihood of mankind being the architect of its own extinction; the (d)evolution of a self-destroying species; influences old and new that inspired this atomic onslaught; progression through regression; and how truth trumps fiction in this twilight zone we temporarily inhabit.

With the world in a state of unprecedented chaos, it’s difficult to escape the feeling that humanity is at a tipping point. Are we about to push the self-destruct button and render ourselves extinct as a species?
“It’s hard to say. It certainly appears that way more often than not recently. Instinctually, self-preservation tends to take the reins and dread what that future might entail, but the planet likely ends up with a net benefit once humanity finally succeeds in devouring itself.”

A manmade mass extinction event seems way more likely at this point in time than a natural one or an ‘act of god’. Does man pose the greatest existential threat to man? Should we become extinct as a species, is it almost inevitable that – either by accident or design – we will be the architects of our own destruction?
“It’s almost an undeniable certainty that man will destroy mankind. We’ve been building the foundation of our destruction since the dawn of civilization. Our history is so littered with war, greed, and an insatiable lust for power that it bleeds into the literature and entertainment we consume and is painted in a glorious light. Even though these are tendencies only imbibed by a minority of the global population, it’s enough to close the coffin.”Since time immemorial, we have devised ingenious methods of maiming and killing one another. It’s human nature, hardwired into our DNA. As technology advances and we ‘evolve’, we find more efficient and sophisticated murderous means – from primitive clubs to knives, spears, guns and tanks, atomic bombs and germ warfare ideal for mass genocide, and now AI / advanced technology which could ultimately replace biological humans with synthetic beings. Is AI potentially the new atomic bomb?
“Any AI technology with that sophisticated of a purpose is likely centuries away. It’s not impossible that it could be sooner and it’s not impossible that it could be the cause of deaths uncountable, but I don’t think it’s likely. We have the perfect tools at hand: nuclear weaponry, biological warfare, and general misinformation campaigns that are already leading to tribal conflict today.”

Seeing as we don’t exactly cover ourselves in glory, either individually or collectively, would it necessarily be a bad thing if we did manage to wipe ourselves off the face of the planet? Could the end of human suffering, misery, pettiness and stupidity be a positive development?
For the planet? Absolutely. Obviously a human extinction event would include my own death, not exactly something I’m rushing to meet, but considering how we’ve treated the planet so far it would likely flourish without us. For humanity? It’s certainly one solution to the never ending list of problems we create for ourselves.”

Have we perhaps been here before? The placement of the primitive club – at the end, rather than the beginning – in your sigil depicting evolution is interesting. Is it possible that advanced civilisations existed in the ancient past and were wiped out, that we are stuck in a loop where we reach a certain level of advancement only to be returned to a more primitive state again? Is evolution an inversion – a series of small steps forward followed eventually by a giant leap backwards?
“Sounds like something kind of similar to the ‘Great Filter’ theory where our filter wouldn’t be from something like an asteroid or solar flare, but from within via warfare and strife. I think that outcome is likely, but on whether it’s cyclical I’m not sure I agree. If there were at one point intelligent life on the planet before us we’d have seen more evidence, but I won’t be surprised when modern civilization is shitting in holes again.”

Do you draw direct inspiration from the celebrated progenitors of ‘war’ or ‘bestial’ BM like Blasphemy, Conqueror and Revenge, or would you say you combine a passion for grind, brutal death and Black Metal in your own unique blender and that any similarities that may result are as coincidental as they are inevitable?
“It’s a mix of both, I think. The main reason we formed Primitive Warfare was from our mutual influences in Conqueror, Revenge, and from the newer side Caveman Cult. Of course, influence unintentionally and inevitably pours in from everywhere and there’s a lot we draw from most aspects of extreme metal. A lot of Assuck has made its way in, Insect Warfare, Teitanblood, and personally I listen to too much Naked Whipper for it not to have bled its way into our sound.”

Sonically, ‘Extinction Protocol’ carries a suitably devastating payload to perfectly mirror the merciless subject matter explored. Pulverising, punishing, pummelling, the debut Primitive Warfare full-length is a relentless onslaught of war-mongering barbarity. Was creating this record an intense undertaking and have you achieved precisely what you set out to achieve?
“I think we have. The idea we wanted to capture from the inception was ‘regression’. Both conceptually and sonically, we wanted the band to regress. Too many bands try to push the envelope and ‘explore their sound’ now; we wanted to do the inverse and return to the raw primitive energy of our demo. Despite our symbolism, I don’t think we’re a band that’s going to progress at all.”

The strategic deployment of samples adds greatly to the impact. ‘Iron Sight Omnipotence’ begins with a sample from ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and closes with Truman chillingly gloating over the bombing of Hiroshima. The then US president sounds every bit as deranged and psychotic as the infamous Door Runner in Kubrick’s anti-war masterpiece. Have you deliberately juxtaposed these two quotes?
“It wasn’t deliberate, but it was a nice accident. We wanted a song to begin with a machine gun going into a blast and we had that FMJ scene in mind for it. Truman came later with the lyrics on a few songs leaning towards the birth of the nuclear age; the positioning just happened to work out. They’re a good contrast to each other.”Organised religion is in the line of fire on ‘Heretic Crusade’. It’s difficult to fathom why people are stupid enough to allow a fantastical doctrine to govern their entire lives, to repress their impulses in the hope that they will be rewarded after death. Is this surrender of individualism and suppression of natural human instinct the aspect of religion that offends and angers you most? Is Satan a metaphorical figure for the antithesis of this, and living life to the full?
“The sheep-like aspect of it is definitely a major contributor, but my disdain of religion began in childhood and expanded over time. Now I’m just tired of seeing it bleed into every conscious part of life, especially in the American south where we live. I think you’ve nailed the comparison for Satan, although I think there are ties unexplored between chaos gnosticism and the dawn of the nuclear age. The morning star explored as a detonation.”

That’s an interesting analogy and one that you appear to have perhaps explored previously on ‘The Tomb of Man’, which closes the aforementioned self-titled demo from five years ago. You mentioned earlier your desire to retain the sound and aesthetic of the demo, but is there also a clear thematic linearity running straight into ‘Extinction Protocol’? In between, were the splits with Complot! and Bog Body a slight deviation?
“The demo and our full-length are thematically similar, but I wouldn’t say it’s a linear progression. It’s what I’d consider the true Primitive Warfare feel though. For our splits we wanted to do something more collaborative with the other bands, so for the Complot! split we explored the futility and violence of the Vietnam war and the Bog Body split was loosely based on the Bab-el-Mandeb (Gate of Grief) collapse between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. Our own releases will continue in the path our demo and album have set.”

I noticed a sample from a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone on one of the tracks on the Complot! split (“…while there are men there can be no peace…”). As a closing thought: we really are living in the twilight zone now, aren’t we? Truth is way stranger than fiction…
“The further in time from that show we are, the more it seems like a prediction than a work of fiction. It is one of my favorite shows and you’ll notice we sample it pretty frequently.”


Photo credit: individual Pu239 and U235 shots by Jeff Howlett