Review Summary: At the crossroads of death
Cavernous old-school death metal, reminiscent of New Jersey's filthy Incantation, has been one of the most prolific and interesting sub-genres in recent years. Bands such as Spectral Voice, Tomb Mold or Phrenelith have successfully captured the attention of a rather specific niche of metallers starved for old-school aesthetics that eludes the most technical and polished contemporary canons. Within this obscure roster are also Seattle's Mortiferum whose 2019 debut Disgorged from Psychotic Depths
was amongst last year's best death metal releases. It came as a surprise to me when I recently discovered that bassist Tony Wolfe and guitarists Chase Slaker and Max Bowman shared a side grind project named Caustic Wound, also featuring Clyle Lindstrom of Cerebral Rot and drummer Casey Moore. Their 2018 demo Grinding Terror
had already revealed the band's signature, which blends death metal's filthiness with early grind, reminiscent of bands such as Napalm Death (Mentally Murdered era), Repulsion or Terrorizer. As you might expect, this toxic cocktail could only result in a hybrid creature, which I'd like to call cavernous grind, or cavern grind, if you prefer.
As we move through Death Posture's
Hell Awaits-esque intro and subsequent blast beat wrath, we're immediately thrown into the late 1980s, early 1990s, somewhere between Onward to Golgotha
and World Downfall
. Although this fusion sounds somewhat familiar, Caustic Wound manages to balance the two sides of the scale magnificently, building an extremely cohesive and effective narrative. The formula is constant in all tracks. Blast beats collide with doom or mid-paced sections to produce dynamic structures, yet always confined to a previously well-defined spectrum. We never feel lost between hermetic aesthetics or more comprehensive and surrealistic deliveries, everything in Death Posture
is straightforward and to the point. This minimalist simplicity is the band's DNA and the album's most attractive aspect. Given Death Posture's
uniformity, it's rather challenging to highlight any particular moment, however the title track, 'Ritual Trappings', 'Cataclysmic Gigaton' or 'Guillotine' are definitely among those that mirror greater quality and cohesion. This homogeneity, seen as stylistic coherence by some, can however be perceived as a weaker link by others, who may find Death Posture
somewhat monochromatic, lacking some three-dimensionality. Your stand on the barricade will always depend on what you hope to hear at this crossroads and whether or not you will be permeable to the band's more straightforward attitude. Musically, Caustic Wound are fully tuned. Clyle Lindstrom's vocals deliver the appropriate degree of filth through deep gutturals that occasionally evolve into multi-layered signatures. The rhythm section is also rock solid, properly supporting the symbiotic deadly riffs that continually emerge.
stands at the crossroads of two nearby paths with an identity of their own. It's a deadly embrace between two extreme metal genres that have seldom been able to intertwine in such a homogeneous way. And I will be around, at the same crossroads, patiently waiting for the next caustic wound.