Denver, CO blackened doom/noise trio Primitive Man take their distinctively dark, nihilistic heaviness to overwhelmingly miserable levels with their latest, aptly-titled effort, Caustic. The much anticipated full-length followup to 2013's Scorn — though there were several splits and 2015 EP, Home Is Where the Hatred Is, in between — surpasses expectations of how depressive and misanthropic their sound could get.
Caustic comprises 12 tracks and over 75 minutes of suffocatingly intense, noisy aggression. "My Will" sets the haunting, dismal tone, starting the album off with feedback-induced corrosive dissonance, as well as slow, crushing rhythms. "Victim" picks up the pace, featuring more riffs and vicious drumming while also maintaining a disturbing atmosphere, as Ethan Lee McCarthy's vocals are as harsh and terrifying as ever.
Title track "Caustic," "Ash" and "The Weight" are brief, static-y noise tracks spaced throughout the album, providing a break (albeit still an unsettling one) between vile, relentless dirges like "Commerce" and "Disfigured" and the sludgy hostility of "Sterility." "Sugar Hole," in particular, features unique progressions, while "Inevitable" demonstrates well-thought out layers of discordant experimental noise, abrasive guitars and battering drums.
Although unnerving throughout, Primitive Man end Caustic on an even bleaker note, as the subtle, piercing tones of "Absolutes" leaves on a vibe that lingers long after it's over. This record is definitely not for everyone, but for those who like their doom on the punishingly callous and despondent side, smothered with noise-ridden dread and bitterness, this one's for you. (Relapse)