Primitive Race are a supergroup that contains a static line-up and this record takes them in a more rock direction than their prior release, whilst also having their industrial, synthesized background. Tragically, 6 days after the release of Soul Pretender on November 3rd, vocalist and frontman Chuck Mosely (Faith No More) passed away and the band hopes this album will carry on his legacy. The rest of the band consists of Eric Loch (LUXT, Blownload), Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Trick), Chris Kniker and Dale Crover (The Melvins).
The album opens with this gem, Row House, which sets the tone for the rest of the record. There are rocky, alterative guitars and what I ca only describe as spooky vocals. There is an extremely good bassline throughout the track. Low rocky guitars are accompanied by a higher electric guitar.
Second track is Cry Out, which has a faster intro than the previous track with the electric guitar again being the focus, but is also accompanied by a solid performance from the rhythm section. Has sort of a melancholy vibe to it both musically and lyrically, and the track has a heavy focus on loss and the effects it has on people emotionally and mentally.
Track 3 is Cranial Matter, fast, spoken lyrics throughout that make it a little difficult to separate the verses from the chorus, but the chugging guitars and accompanying bass and drums keep the pace constant for the entirety of the track. There is a degree of rise and fall to the music that will keep you moving throughout, the kind of song that you’ll blast on your stereo and get wrong over and over trying to sing along.
Take It All is track four and contrasting guitars open the song, then drums and lyrics join in. There is a repetitive low bass and drum beat throughout that make up the backbone of the track and then the melodies intertwine throughout, tumbling below sometimes, and then soaring above the next. Although they are abundant in quantity, the lyrics appear almost as an afterthought to the track until the chorus kicks in and they become the star of the show.
Bed Six is track 5 and if power chords and sick beats are your passion, this is the track for you! An easy to rock out to beat makes up the musical content of this song and the bass really stands out and comes through strongly, and has more of a starring role than you’d typically expect. The bands industrial influences could be the reason for this, but regardless of why, it works extremely well.
Next up is Stepping Stone. We’re back to the spooky sounding vocals for this track an it definitely blows your mind in a good way. The guitars once again take the back seat and the bass shines through, there is also more of an emphasis on the fast and punchy drums in this track. The story-telling in these vocals is also impressive an when the music has it’s rise and falls, the vocals match it. The song talks of not being someone’s, as the title suggests, stepping stone.
This supergroup is a fan of their vocals coming in closer to the start of some songs, than in others. Turn It Up is one that has vocals quite early on, and the lyrics are the title of the song. This track is a bit slower than the one preceding it but it fits into this space perfectly in terms of the pacing of the album. It’s also one of the shorter tracks but is definitely in the top five.
Track 8 is Soul Pretender, the title track. Quite a lot of synth underpins this track and along with the vocals, gives it a bit of an eerie feel. This eerie feel however is obvious throughout the whole album so this track is keeping in with the tone set by previous tracks. The pacing of this track itself is melodic and methodical and is very deliberate with the beat. There’s also a rather impressive guitar solo towards the end of the song that will have you playing air guitar along to it.
Track 9 is Nothing to Behold, a slower, synthesized intro than the rest of the album with the beat and the pace slowly building as the song progresses. Whilst the slowest song on the album, it works as a second to last step in telling the narrative musically of the album. We’re treated to another great guitar solo and again the bass takes on a more important and highlighted role.
Dancing On The Sun is last and as soon as this track starts to play, you know that you have arrived at the end of the record, just from the way that it sounds. It’s also a perfect track to close with as we’re treated to rather impressive deep and scintillating vocals. The drums are the perfect backbone, and the rest of the instruments really just dance around and compliment them.
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