CD, Crunch Pod, 2007
Caustic is an excellent representation of the racial dichotomy prevalent within contemporary music: angry black music is seen as offensive, politically motivated, often sexual in content and a mainstream success; angry white music, on the other hand, is considered offensive, politically motivated, often sexual in content and as far from the mainstream as is possible. It’s therefore quite odd that industrial doesn’t have the commercial impact that hip-hop enjoys, but at the same time, would it still have the anti-establishmentarian appeal that it now does if that were the case?
“Booze Up and Riot” is typical of the genre, laying waste to any morals or principles under a bombardment of harsh percussive angst, distorted lyrics and obscure, sociopathic B-movie samples. After all – who needs melody when you have a driving rhythm? Songs range from a 4-minute diatribe expounding the wisdom in the name of the album by Chemlab vocalist, Jared Louche, to the digital speed metal assault of the title track, through to the aptly named culmination of the album, “Faceplant”, a no-holds-barred hard industrial celebration of nihilism.
On the negative side, the constant quasi-comedic self-effacing attitude evident in the album’s lyrics, acknowledgements and press release (“now with 30% less suck”, or, “The reason I broke up with you is a million reasons you psychotic wang”, for example) does get irritating, belittling the almost-unattainable accomplishment of an actual recording contract that gives the producer free creative reign that Caustic should take pride in.
But on the whole, the simple message behind “Booze Up and Riot”, of noisy anarchic rebellion in the face of all authority is delivered with sincerity and emotion, despite Matt Fanale’s constant assertions that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. If you like your music hard, angry and in-your-face, you could do a whole lot worse than Caustic. Hey, you could be spending your money on hip-hop…
— David vander Merwe