Cohesive industrial punk
The long awaited album Soul Pretender (originally known as Volume 2.) by ever-changing supergroup Primitive Race lives up to all expectations. The band this time around consists of producer and bass player Chris Kniker, the recently deceased singer Chuck Mosley of Faith No More, drummer Dale Crover of the Melvins, and returning members Mark Gemini Thwaite and Erie Loch).
Together, these industrial rock legends have created a masterpiece of talent and pure rock that’s an exciting ride from beginning to end. The first Primitive Race album featured Kniker (the leader of the group) along with Graham Crabb from Pop Will Eat Itself, Loch and Thwaite (known for plenty of different rock groups). Though both records feature great music, the differences between the two albums beyond the member line up are clear through the sounds and styles of the songs.
“During the recording of the first Primitive Race album there was a natural shift from the industrial sound of our collective histories towards something more fluid and punk,” Kniker said when announcing the band’s second album. Kniker and the rest of the band have created definitely created a punk-influenced album, as seen by early songs “Row House” and “Cranial Matter.” “Cranial Matter” in particular plays into the band’s raw rock desire. The drums are loud, the vocals are almost drowned out by the instruments, but it all remains cohesive, and that’s the sound the group seems to be going for.
“Take It All” the fourth song on the album showcases the fantastic drumming talent of Dale Crover. When casting this album, Kniker did well, as all three of their musical skills don’t overpower each other, and instead complement each other. It’s a feat that many bands strive for but takes a supergroup of this caliber of musical knowledge to accomplish. “Stepping Stone,” the sixth song is another example of Crover’s masterful drumming, as the percussion is highlighted through the drum solos between verses. The song also has a more ’90s rock style to it, with Mosley’s deep vocals making it a standout on the album that should be listened to again and again.
The title track of the album “Soul Pretender” is a slower song, one where Mosley’s voice is again showcased very well. He sings at the same volume as the guitar at one point, his voice mixing with the instruments. Mosley’s voice is a huge part of what makes this album stand out from the last Primitive Race album. His vocals were unlike any other in the rock world, sounding almost like a musical instrument themselves. With this now being his last album following his tragic death on November 10th, his voice will continue to live on through this masterpiece of an album. His instrumental-like vocals are seen again in “Nothing To Behold” and the final song on the album, “Dancing On The Sun.” If “Row House” starts the album off with a bang, then “Dancing On The Sun” ends it softly, wrapping it up perfectly.
Time will tell what the next incarnation of Primitive Race will hold, but if the first two albums are any indication, then it should be just as great while continuing to establish the supergroup’s place in the world of punk and industrial rock.