Album Review: PRIMITIVE MAN Caustic
Primitive Man aren’t going to change. I don’t think that’s news to anyone but it bears repeating, much like the aggressive blackened noisiness of their discography. Their hostility and pain bear constant rotation. Because it’s not life life ever stops dishing it out, so why should these guys?
Caustic is the logical follow up to 2013’s heavy, hate fueled doom/sludge debut Scorn. A record that suddenly appeared and got in everyone’s face. Immediately you knew if you loved or hated Primitive Man. And if you had been paying attention to Ethan McCarthy’s projects beforehand (Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, Death of Self), you might have been a little prepared for what came. You at least knew what you were getting into. It just so happened that the band brought a wrecking ball instead of a sledge hammer that time around.
Caustic solidifies and continues the legacy Scorn began. Despite the constant slew of splits and singles over the years, Primitive Man remain in their solitary state: loud, pissed, slow. So when the record opens with classic Primitive Man feedback in “My Will”, you will immediately know where this is going. And it’s going in that direction for the next seventy-eight-minutes.
This is punishment, and its title is well earned. It aims to scathe and get under the skin, and it works, whether through melody or sheer length. For the most part, Caustic sticks to slower stuff, screeching and lurching in its heaviness. “Commerce” is twelve-minutes and slow as hell, sticking to slamming, sluggish sections, while also melding in melody and feedback.
The record does pick up at times and we get those dashes of death metal that Primitive Man dive into here and there. “Sterility” starts out fucking brutal as hell; something that sounds like it could have made it onto the last Vermin Womb album. “Victim” is a faster track as well that kicks up some punkier sounds but overall sticks to the slower.
Actually, the most interesting aspects to me were the noise pieces. Those that have heard P//M or McCarthy’s Many Blessings know that he dabbles plenty in noise. It’s something I wish we could have gotten more of on Caustic. Yeah, the final track “Absolutes” goes out with a near-nine-minute noisy piece that serves as a final ambience but it also gives the impression like the band is leaving the room, or abandoning the listener. The title track “Caustic” sounded like it was headed in an interesting direction but ended in less than a minute. “Ash” is much the same.
If you’re ready for more Primitive Man, they deliver in spades. And this time it’s a behemoth. If you’re not sold on the band already then nothing’s about to change. But for long time listeners, this record sounds incredibly filthy. The dirt in the distortion sounds like it’s being kicked up against your ears. Caustic is as it’s name suggests, as is Primitive Man. It’s filthy, ugly, brutish, and sounds like a long lifetime of hatred, pain, misery and destruction.