Category: Industrial / Rock
Album: Primitive Race
Blurb: A solid self-titled full-length debut that showcases the best of what modern industrial/rock has to offer, even if the results make for a less-than-cohesive whole.
Having built up a sizeable reputation as a well respected and capable manager, Chris Kniker took advantage of his numerous clients and contacts to bring his own creative vision to life – taking on the mantle of an industrial collective, a supergroup as is often labeled, known as Primitive Race. With the likes of Erie Loch of Exageist/Blownload and renowned guitarist/producer Mark Gemini Thwaite as active participants, Primitive Race first made waves with the Long in the Tooth EP earlier this year, a joint effort with the Lord of Lard, Raymond Watts – a.k.a. PIG – to demonstrate a varied and experimental approach to music that relied less on formula and more on the exaltation of collaboration. Following up on so bombastic and powerful an EP might have proven to be a tall order, but the Primitive Race self-titled album takes on the task with an even more assorted group of guest musicians.
To judge Primitive Race as a cohesive whole might prove difficult given that each musical cohort brings a certain flavor; each song distinguishes itself from the other, with only the overall sense of rhythmic groove and attitude tying everything together. For instance, the slow yet strident pace of “Follow the Leader” as Graham Crabb of Pop Will Eat Itself despondently and unemotionally speaks about conformity to make for a poignant and ironic statement on the abundance of sound-alike acts in virtually any music scene differs from the danceable yet atmospherically harrowing “Addict Now,” on which Stayte/Simple Shelter/RevCo vocalist Josh Bradford howls with his signature abandon. Similarly, Thwaite’s strutting slide guitars along with Crabb’s disaffected sense of cool gives “Cage Rattler” a decidedly blues influenced twinge that contrasts remarkably from the pulsating techno of “Seeing Right Through It All,” Prong’s Tommy Victor giving the track a rather slithery yet guttural quality, just as he does on the scathing guitar-driven march of “Acceptance of Reality” or the stomping noisy industrial/rock of “Taking Things Back.” Kourtney Klein undoubtedly lends her send of smarmy melody and bouncy percussiveness to “DJFH,” while the resonant psychedelic guitar effects and spooky cadences of “Give Up the Ghost” serve as a perfect bedrock for Andi Sex Gang’s seething gothic abandon. The cold ambience of slow, distant beats, shimmering guitar sustain, and Bradford’s emotive voice on “Below Zero” ends the album on a grim and mournful note that serves as an effective capper after the album’s unbridled energy.
While the Long in the Tooth EP benefitted from PIG’s signature style providing a continuous thread throughout, this self-titled album is a somewhat more schizophrenic outing. The core production lineup of Loch, Thwaite, and Kniker do well to infuse each song with their own instrumental prowess, keeping a relatively consistent flow from track to track, but the overall infusion of disparate voices and their respective styles gives Primitive Race the feel of a mix compilation rather than a singular album. Of course, this was perhaps inevitable and is by no means a detriment to the album’s appeal as it presents an overarching portrait of modern alternative and industrial/rock that compels one to explore the individual songs on their own merits and discover with each listen traces of each musician’s imprints. For this alone, the Primitive Race debut album is a fine display of the communal and experimental spirit of the industrial/rock scene taken to a powerful conclusion.
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Storming the Base CD
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)