Ahhh Primitive Man. As you can see from my reviews of their previous work, (here, here, here, and here), this is a band I absolutely love. Their pitch-black, nihilistic, world-hating doom is so perfectly delivered that it never ceases to satisfy and crush in equal measure.
So imagine my excitement when the appropriately-titled Caustic came into my life, all malignant hatred and colossal intensity. A harrowing journey into the empty abyss of modern life, this is a huge 77 minutes of urban decay and misery, spread out of 12 sprawling tracks.
No matter my personal adoration for this filthy monster of a band, I’m well aware that this is not music that will appeal to everyone. Riddled with feedback, infected with outbreaks of virulent noise, and sewn up with barely-contained sickening corruption, this is not a journey that most people will even be able to start, let alone finish. For those that have the constitution and the stamina to persevere, however, the dark rewards are there to be found.
Hidden within the nearly impenetrable veneer of the band’s weighty blackened doom and sonic extremity is the dead heart of a band that has truly come to embody utter darkness and bleak heaviness. At this point in their career Primitive Man have honed their grim art to the highest point of excellence, and Caustic is an album that’s so colossally immense and soul-destroying that it would be nigh-impossible to listen to in just one sitting, were it not for how fucking good it is.
And there you have it really, the true crux of the matter. This is, quite simply, a great album. The songs are heavy, dark, and full of blackened corruption and pissed-off misanthropic hatred. It’s an album of depth though, as the genius of the band’s music is how it channels pure negativity into something worthwhile and full of weight, rather than simply leaving these negative emotions as surface feelings with little substance. Caustic is a monolithic and weighty listen in more ways than just the obvious ones; the songs feel, and what they feel is deep, dark, disturbing, and uncomfortable.
This is ugly, underground doom the likes of which doesn’t come along very often, probably because it’s so heavy and malignant that the world can only take so much of it.
An utterly essential, despair-filled, hopeless, soundtrack to the modern world.