Excessive noise titans Full of Hell and Primitive Man utilise their sonic terror in a collaborative effort that might just have opened up a portal to an altered state of diabolical reality.

Release date: March 3, 2023 | Closed Casket Activities | Full of Hell Facebook | Primitive Man Facebook | Bandcamp

As far as collaborations go, Full of Hell have unleashed some nasty pieces of noise-imbued mastery. The US-dispersed noise-grind outfit have certainly delivered some excellent material in partnership with some of extreme music’s most vital assets, including Japanese noise icon Merzbow and Rhode Island experimental metal duo The Body. Primitive Man have similarly dealt their blood-soaked, sludge-laden hands in a number of splits with notable doom and sludge acts currently on the scene, like Sea Bastard, Unearthly Trance, and Hell. Nonetheless, when we talk about music that pushes the limits of extremity beyond their maximum capacity, taking one out of their comfort zone and into territories of abrasive sonic delirium, it would be fair to say that both Full of Hell and Primitive Man fit the description of two of the biggest bands to play this style of music. That being said, to finally have a collaborative studio album with these two artists would have certainty generated high levels of anticipation and expectation from both fans of the bands and those closely following what’s going on in extreme music communities. Suffocating Hallucination not only precedes these expectations but challenges both bands in their ability to sustain a haunting and abrasive musical presence.

We are immediately greeted by these dissonant and harsh rhythmic jabs, overlayed with feedback and punished with menacing walls of noise in the opening track “Trepanation For Future Joys”. The tension is mounting, the feedback in disturbingly harsh, and the doom-expressive riffs force you to render to submission. Noise and terror become the primary themes of these soundscapes as they throw you into an uncompromising realm of disorder and anxiety. You can get a glimpse of what each band brings to the table, from Full of Hell’s onslaught of reflexive forms of racket that amplifies the experimental aspects of the tracks with increasing tempo changes and hate-filled noisescapes that welcome Primitive Man’s much more stripped-down and violently slow approach. “Rubble Home”, for instance, acknowledges these characteristics, building from Primitive Man’s disgusting bass heavy tone into Full of Hell’s viscousness through noise experiments and aggressive hammering rhythmic pace.

There certainly seems to be a lot of back and forth between the two bands, allowing each other to demonstrate their extreme capabilities to maximum strength. The vocal delivery between Ethan Lee McCarthy’s voiding growls of excavation and Dylan Walker’s sinister agonising yells demonstrate a sort of unity in which both frontmen’s excruciating form for displaying volatility and harsh expression can be realised. Instrumentally, there’s a lot going for this record as well; the next two tracks demonstrate this perfectly. “Bludgeon” is a 25-second grindcore song that wants nothing more than to pummel you with fast, unforgiving exhibitions of sonic violence until you are mentally worn out. Alternatively, the next track “Dwindling Will” is more focused on producing haunting and daunting atmospheres with these spliced noise samples, sonically manipulated amplifier feedback, and tripped-out circuit boards – it’s as if the artists are simulating the experience of the listener becoming submerged within the unfathomable void of an apocalyptically dystopian, technologically enhanced cataclysm.

The final track of this album comes at a moment where you feel the record should go on, wanting to embrace the feedback, the noise, the unrelenting horror that the bands conjure in their terrifying musical endeavours; regardless, “Tunnels to God” is grand send-off into the empty maelstrom of abrasion. Beginning with an eerie hellscape that teeters with moments of deceiving clarity and apprehensive choir swells, this song becomes a distinguishable climax that reflects themes of death, anxiety, and despair. Jonathan Campos’ bass decimates these foundations with the most disgusting and hostile tone you’ve ever heard in sludge metal. Soon after, the song moulds into a tense funeral doom passage, accompanied by noisy synth elements and blackened guitar tremolos that personify the final days of humanity as one aimlessly wanders through the devastation with the realisation that these truly are the last days for mankind.

A short record to say the least, and for a collaboration with as much anticipation when two brute forces as Full of Hell and Primitive Man consolidate, you can’t help but ask for more if you’re an eager fan of the music that these bands play. But Full of Hell and Primitive Man deliberately leave you wanting more, they want you to feel the frustration and anxiety and hate and terror that fuels their musical output – that’s what makes them such exceptional assets for extreme music. Suffocating Hallucination therefore is a well-rounded collaborative release that displays both artists’ signature traits through precise and exasperating execution. If anything should be taken from this, it’s that there need to be more collaboration within the world of extreme music; not only does it showcase the best of each of these talents, but it can also open up new musical possibilities and welcome greater degrees of experimentation and innovation.

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