Tuesday 23 January 2018

Review: Caustic – 'American Carrion'

The last few Caustic albums 'The Golden Vagina Of Fame And Profit', 'The Man Who Couldn't Stop', and 'Industrial Music' have proved to be among the highlights of their respective years of release. It's good to see that 2018 is starting the right way with another full-length outing full of piss and vinegar from Matt Fanale.

Fanale has continued to evolve and grow as an artist experimenting on EPs and singles, as well as going outside of his comfort zone on his side projects. And his full-length Caustic albums always have a tendency to to pull the best of these experiences into one mighty manifesto.

Picking up right where the forthright middle-finger that was 'Industrial Music' left off, 'American Carrion' sees Fanale kick things up a notch. Hard, groovy, and dance friendly ebm elements are filtered through classic industrial vitriol before being doused with Fanale's own patented Jizzcore. It's a perfect musical palette for what has to be the most explicitly political Caustic album too date.

Big beats and fist-in-the-air, shout-a-long choruses colour tracks such as 'Purgative', 'Heads Down, Fingers Up', and 'Fuck That Fascist Beat' with relatable anger a solid sequenced grooves. The likes of 'American Carrion', 'Stoma' and 'Angel Grinder' with their distorted lo-fi beats and prominent bass-lines that give the album an addictive backbone.

While the progressive and more experimental flavours 'The Coital Staircase', 'Drugskill', and 'Methmouth' show off the wider and more eclectic scope of his work with a blend of
old school minimal techno and ebm, but with a rhythmically pleasing core. It's the album's parting shot, 'One Nation Under Fear', though that successfully encapsulates everything going on here and melds it into an undeniable club banger to rally around with it's incendiary but supportive message.

Production-wise the album, much as 'Industrial Music' did before it, straddles the line between polished and tight techno and ebm and gritty unfriendly industrial. It's always been one of Fanale's strengths that he can flick back-and-forth between styles and genres in both his music and vocal performances and yet remain utterly focused and 'American Carrion' is no exception to this trend.

'American Carrion' holds a mirror up to the world and reflects its bullshit right back at it. But it does so in a rather positive way. There is a message of unity, and ultimately hope within the anger and disillusionment that as a result makes this album a compelling listening experience as well as a cathartic dance/mosh-friendly one. It may only be month one of 2018 but 'American Carrion' has set the bar pretty high right from the off.

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