Primitive Man – Caustic (2017) REVIEW

The second full-length from Primitive Man is a long-winded, repetitive, eternally exploding nail bomb of punishment that flattens the listener without a moment of charm or intellect. The crushing starts almost immediately and while the first half of the album offers some death/doom style riffing the shouted, noise-ridden sludge of their previous efforts quickly exhausts and defeats my mind. There is no joy, no pretty reprieve, no contemplative moments of melody or grace; Primitive Man pummels and writhes in predictable forms that are abrasive and vengeful. The horrible truth is that by the time you’re writhing in pain and yearning for relief, the band has only pushed out about a third of this 80 minute extreme sludge album. It is an unwelcome exercise in merciless abrasion that I’ve found painfully irritating to wrestle through.

By the time “Sugar Hole” bumps in to break up some of the monotony the band doesn’t relent, but rather amps up their harsh noise experimentation. I have no problem with drone or noise elements in sludge or doom metal, in fact bands like Khanate or Old Man Gloom thrive within their experimentation; hell, The Body/Thou collaborations are some of my favorite takes on the style. Primitive Man do not yet have an handle on what makes their music special. If it is higher art with no other goal than to be the most repugnant and *sigh* primitive sludge out there, they’ve achieved their goal for the sake of a performance piece that is unemployable outside of cathartic psychosis. I personally tend to gravitate towards something equally pummeling but with a better handle of the riff such as Sumac.

I’m not a total wuss for long-winded bludgeoning doom either, I can hang with the most despondent funeral doom bands out there, but I find the spectacle of ‘Caustic’ emotionally damning and too literally crippling to the ‘soul.’ The previous album ‘Scorn’ and their almost equally long EP releases incorporated more of the crust punk and black metal elements that felt modern and jugular-focused. I hate to write off such a detailed and passionate release but at this point death/doom bands and funeral doom are doing a much better job of conveying these emotions with half the headache and twice the depth. But perhaps that is the point? Maybe Primitive Man sought out to punish the world for what it is? If so, they’ve succeeded in spitting in my face, stomping my neck, and pissing on the indentation of the heel.


Artist Primitive Man
Type Album
Released October 6, 2017
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Crescent-shaped, urine filled dent. 3.5/5.0