The Rickety Old Shack

Caustic Wound — Death Posture

album cover

A throwback to the underground metal scenes of the late 80s and early 90s, Seattle, Washington's Caustic Wound have issued their full-length debut album, Death Posture. Containing 14 tracks and running just a little over 26 minutes, you can safely assume this is going to be some filthy, grimy, death grind. Nostalgia holds very little purchase with me but I can appreciate a job well done, and Caustic Wound really nail the aesthetic and vibe they're aiming for.

The production is raw and muddy without devolving into a parody. The vocals are guttural and muffled, the guitars feature thick, churning rhythms and strained, sinister leads. The bass is often buried deep in the mix, which was something that always irritated me on older metal records. The engineering quality of the drum tracks is a cut above what you would have heard on underground grindcore demos back in the day, but it's not distracting — the tones are just a bit too detailed for a truly old recording. The band's only prior release, a demo cassette — yes, exclusively as a tape, for extra hipster points — titled Grinding Terror, dropped in 2018, and sounds even more rustic although not substantially different from Death Posture.

I don't mind retro projects, but I do prefer it when their recorded output is as concise and polished as possible. My go-to example for this is Bloodbath, and their Breeding Death EP (review), and Caustic Wound get it right on this record. There are 3 tracks from their demo which appear on the album: "Guillotine," "Visions Of Torture" and "Cabal," with the rest being all new material. The new material hews very closely to the template established on the demo, with only a marginal difference in audio quality separating the two efforts.

As is standard for the grind genre, most of the tracks are under 2 minutes in length, with each cut bludgeoning the listener with blend of sludgy intro passages that lead into the inevitable cacophony of blastbeats, grinding riffs and low, grunted vocals. There's enough variety in the pacing of each song — and sufficiently thick, heavy grooves littering the album — that Caustic Wound progress beyond a generic nostalgia act and exude some personality of their own. While they may not be pushing the boundaries of death metal any further, Caustic Wound still put together a solid record of material that seems like it would be great in a live setting.

Fans of Mortician, Autopsy and early Cannibal Corpse should enjoy Death Posture quite a lot. Caustic Wound strike a good balance of technicality and midtempo headbanging that reminds me why I still enjoy old school metal 3+ decades later. Hell, there's never been a better time for sweatpants and letting your hair grow out...

Summary

A respectful tribute to the early days of deathgrind, Caustic Wound successfully perform an homage without being a hollow repetition of forms. Death Posture exudes an appropriate level of sincerity and authenticity. The essence of the underground — raucous fury and primal musical rage — are perfectly captured on this record, which requires less-than a half-hour of the listener's time.

Album Information

Release date: April 10th, 2020
Record label: Profound Lore Records

Clyle Lindstrom — vocals
Max Bowman — guitar
Chase Slaker — guitar
Tony Wolfe — bass
Casey Moore — drums

Track Listing

  1. Death Posture
  2. Cemetery Planet
  3. Visions Of Torture
  4. Black Bag Asphyxiation
  5. Terror Bomber
  6. Blast Casualty
  7. Ritual Trappings
  8. Uranium Decay
  9. Cabal
  10. Acid Attack
  11. Invisible Cell
  12. Guillotine
  13. Autonomous Weapons System
  14. Cataclysmic Gigaton

Link: profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: April 13th, 2020.