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Posted on August 15th, 2015 (10:00 am) by Addison Herron-Wheeler

As a fan of industrial, metal and EDM, the existence of Primitive Race immediately piqued my interest. I’ve long been a fan of some of the bands that this supergroup has members from – Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, and PIG. And as I grow older, I’m becoming more and more fond of collaborative projects, genre-blending, and the powers of underground metal and underground electronic music alike.

So what I was hoping to get from this album was something weird, unsettling, even groundbreaking. I wanted something like Puscifer or Skinny Puppy – raw and energetic, gritty, not afraid to break the rules, dark, dancey, erotic. Primitive Race’s self-titled, first full length album does have some of those things, but more often than not, it has them in weird, awkward amounts, blending and mixing in a way that doesn’t quite add up. Rather than seamlessly forgoing the confines of genre to make something that stands out as good music, they seemed to somewhat sloppily mix many different elements to add up to an unfocused cacophony.

While this does feel confusing in a lot of places, there are definitely some redeeming songs that are downright catchy and foot-tapping as well as solid industrial tracks. The record starts off with the in-your-face “So Strange,” which gets off to a cool start with a psychedelic sounding synth, and is one of the catchiest songs on the album, reminiscent of old Marilyn Manson. “Addict Now” has a cool '80s pop feeling while still keeping it brutal, and “Taking Things Back” is the most metal and drum n’ bass influenced song on the record. But each of these songs, while strong and interesting in their own right, have some awkward elements, like overly poppy choruses that feel forced or required, or odd synth elements that don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the song. There are also a couple of downright cringe-worthy songs, like the joke track “Platinum Balls” that is too odd to really be appreciated, and “DJFH,” which has much the same vibe.

While I can appreciate the diverse amount of talent and the different career tracks that lead to the production of this record, something about the way they combine does not really seem to work. Some individual tracks are pretty good, but there is no cohesion or flow to the album whatsoever in terms of how the music fits together, and even the songs themselves seem chopped up, as though different parts were created by different musicians in different production studios, and then combined without a lot of discussion between contributors. Collaboration in the digital age on tracks is all well and good, but this feels like the musical equivalent of the “telephone” game, where the final result of each songs is vastly different than the initial idea.

This odd record is interesting enough for me to recommend it to fans of the bands that contributed or industrial music in general. And it looks like by and large, the album is getting a pretty good response from the solid fan base they already built up with their first EP. But in terms of essential industrial tunes, I would opt for something a little more cohesive and classic.

Track List:

  1. So Strange
  2. Follow the Leader
  3. Acceptance of Reality
  4. Addict Now
  5. Cage Rattler
  6. Give up the Ghost
  7. Taking Things Back
  8. Platinum Balls
  9. Seeing Right Through it All
  10. DJFH
  11. Below Zero
Primitive Race self-titled album cover
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

50 / 100
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