Album Review: Primitive Man and Full of Hell — “Suffocating Hallucination”

Full of Hell Primitive Man - Suffocating Hallucination

Suffocating Hallucination truly is an album that answers the question of “what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object”.  If you know, you know: Primitive Man are the undisputed champions of doom and the heaviest fucking band on the planet, with Full of Hell taking a close second, albeit for different reasons.  In one corner, we have lumbering, plodding, black-hole-dense doom and on the other we have savage, razor-sharp and breakneck grindcore.  “But Ian”, you say, “when we mix them together, shouldn’t we just get songs that are, you know, a normal tempo?”  You absolute fool.  You’re not ready for what’s about to hit you.

Neither Primitive Man nor Full of Hell are strangers to the increasingly popular collaborative side of metal.  Primitive Man have a discography chock-full of splits with the likes of Hell and Unearthly Trance, while Full of Hell have several collaborative albums under their belts, enveloping themselves seamlessly around the likes of Merzbow and The Body.  You should know by now that I love me a good collaboration album.  I’m firmly on the record about this, and whenever I see any band, but especially Full of Hell, smush up to their peers, I’m bound to check it out.  This, though…this is something special.  You wouldn’t think an album as horrifyingly, cripplingly, obscenely heavy as this would start off from a place of wholesomeness, but Suffocating Hallucination is the spawn of genuine friendship made manifest.  “It’s a really special marker of the friendship between us,” says Dylan Walker, Full of Hell’s vocalist.  “We approach each collaboration differently, depending on the personalities in the room.  With Primitive Man, we wrote everything in the studio.”  I can only imagine what being in that room must have felt like.  I can feel my teeth rattling just thinking about it.  If you really think about it, though, a collaboration like this makes perfect sense.  Full of Hell are often classified as a grindcore band, but they are certainly not above experimenting with their sound and stretching the confines of the genre.  Primitive Man have a sound wide enough that just about anything can fit in the space between notes, but also, these bands both flirt very heavily with harsh noise, and this is the uniting factor between them.

What we have here is not simply a mix of fast songs and slow ones, in case you thought I was joking.  Suffocating Hallucination does what all good collaborations do, and that is highlight new facets of what each band brings to the table, while allowing equal opportunity for everyone to contribute.  Opener “Trepanation for Future Joys” shows you what it looks like when Primitive Man pushes the tempo a little bit (just a bit, though), but the best examples of this on the album are definitely “Rubble Home” and “Tunnels to God.”  The former starts off as your “typical” lumbering behemoth of a Primitive Man joint, albeit with a guitar motif that is decidedly not Primitive Man, before throttling forward, combining Primitive Man’s signature three second chugs with grindy blast beats, before the whole thing intentionally falls off the rails with feedback, static and spastic dueling drums that work against each other in a cacophonous symphony of anxiety.  The latter is a slow burn of a song, that transitions out of the requisite noise track and slowly builds to a doom crawl that is extremely melodic and mournful in a way that is really quite unexpected from either band but wholly satisfying.  If I have anything bad to say about Suffocating Hallucination, it’s that I really wish it were longer.  Despite the fact that it makes my eyeballs bleed out of my head, I can’t help but want more once that last bit of feedback stops ringing.

Suffocating Hallucination comes on the eve of a co-headlining tour between Full of Hell and Primitive Man.  If ever there was a reason earplugs were invented, it would be for this show and this show only.  And if you didn’t already have a reason to catch these guys live, let these songs be a reason for you.  I can’t even imagine the kind of chaos on stage they could capture, but if it’s even half of what the tracks on Suffocating Hallucination hold, then I’m all in.  Here’s to many more fruitful collaborations in the future.


Suffocating Hallucination will be available March 3 on Closed Casket Activities.  For more information on Primitive Man, visit their official website.  For more information on Full of Hell, visit their official website.

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