Full of Hell & Primitive Man – Suffocating Hallucination (Closed Casket Activities)

Monday, 6th March 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

Full of Hell, Maryland/Pennsylvania’s filth Hounds of Hades and Primitive Man, Colorado’s death sludge titans, have finally released a collaborative record aptly named Suffocating Hallucination and it’s as heavy as a supermassive black hole. Ever since I saw them on tour together in 2019, I just thought “these two should collaborate”; and 4 years after that brutal show, we get the results and it’s blissful aural punishment.

“Trepanation for Future Joys” set the tone of the record with its snail-paced maelstrom of distortion and both Dylan Walker and Ethan Lee McCarthy’s pained vocals bashing the listener’s head in. Dave Bland and Joe Linden’s different drumming styles worked well together surprisingly enough, while Jonathan Campos and Sam DiGristine’s bass lines steadily provided the backbone to Spencer Hazard and McCarthy’s woven insanity of distortion and noise. “Rubble Home” is more Full of Hell than the preceding track’s Primitive Man inclinations and as the first taste of the record, it definitely does not disappoint. It deftly displays the strengths of both bands and seamlessly fuses the best parts of “Primitive Hell” without losing what made them special in the first place.

“Bludgeon” is exactly how it sounds like, a 30 second assault that leaves you bloodied and bruised, as “Dwindling Will” takes your mind on a horrifying sonicscape reminiscent of Lovecraftian terrors lurking in the void. It’s not a Full of Hell/Primitive Man record without an ambient/noise track, as both bands have inculcated the genre in their music since time immemorial, pushing the boundaries of what “heavy” means these days. “Tunnels to God”, the omega track, the final state of man as he crawls back to his deity, defeated and drained. This song is the perfect embodiment of that imagery, as both Full of Hell and Primitive Man leaves you wanting more, masochistic for more self-flagellation through repeated listens of this masterpiece.

Suffocating Hallucination is, without a doubt, an early highlight of 2023; a record that serves as a document to two of metal’s most punishing bands and their long-lasting friendships, and what their unholy union can conjure. An album that blissfully numbs your senses through sheer sonic density, brought to us by Hell’s unwavering heroes.

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