Primitive Man – “Caustic”

Primitive Man – “Caustic” (Relapse Records)

Battle Helm Rating

If the first release from this visceral doom noise punk trio didn’t do it for ya, then this follow up will truly burn your face off! Formed in 2013 by Denver veterans Ethan Lee McCarthy (Visceral Womb, Withered) on vocals / guitars and bassist Jonathan Campos (Reproacher, Maliblis), Primitive Man has now gone well beyond a project to a full time band in every sense with them playing live shows across the US and Europe. Following up from their debut “Scorn” and a slew of EPs and splits, “Caustic” truly lives up to its name in being both the heaviest and darkest release that Primitive Man have put out to date. I’m not quite sure what’s being going on in Ethan Lee McCarthy’s mind but this could be the most soul destroying album you’ll hear this year? With lyrical subjects drawn from a psychiatrist’s manual ranging from death and depression to mental illness, it’s bad enough before you chuck in race relations (as McCarthy is mixed race) on this 12 track nihilistic death ride. As for the music, the song titles say it all along the lines of ‘Victim’, ‘Disfigured’ and ‘The Weight’ with monstrous, cataclysmic riffs drenched in feedback and blood red rawness melded with black hole heavy bass and frenzied drumming dangerously skirting the lines of cacophony – yet skillfully teetering on brink without heading off the precipice thanks to the masterful work here. With McCarthy’s own abominable roars and bloodcurdling howls cementing the misery, “Caustic” is a hugely atmospheric album that fiercely holds onto you from start to finish as you wallow in its musical cesspool ecstatically, while acknowledging its aptness in defining today’s crumbling social climate.

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