Primitive Race is a supergroup consisting of, among others, Chris Kniker, Mark Thwaite, Graham Crabb, Erie Loch, Tommy Victor, Raymond Watts, Dave Ogilvie, Kourtney Klein, and Mark Brooks, and thus this self-titled album (Metropolis) consists of parts of very nearly every great Industrial band that there is or has been. Consequently, the album does not have one single sound, but bounces around between various forms of the Industrial style, from the bluesy sound of ‘Cage Rattler’ to the catchy rock riffs of ‘Taking Things Back’, to the dark recesses of gothic rock of ‘Below Zero’.
One of the songs that makes a good impression is ‘So Strange’. It is nicely electronic but happily industrial. The vocals are clean, but with a slightly constricted sound that is actually quite nice as an effect making the overall thing very catchy yet non-intrusive. ‘Cage Rattler’ is also very good, although the backing vocals are monotonous to the point of annoyance. The riffs are excellent, nice and bluesy, with good solos even, but the vocals are less impressive. The screaming at the end is the best vocal performance of the song.
‘Addict Now’, ‘Give Up The Ghost’, and ‘Taking Things Back’ are very different songs, but they are all solid and effective compositions. However, the best song on the album may well be ‘Below Zero’, with its incredible vocals and lovingly depressing style; reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails or Lacrimas Profundere, this is a very pleasing sound.
Not all is fun and games on this album, however. While ‘Acceptance of Reality’ has some good riffs, and enough variation to be interesting, the solo is abysmal – even for an eclectic solo there are rather few notes in the proper key. ‘Platinum Balls’ is rather boring, and ‘Follow the Leader’ is grating as the vocals are not mixed in to the music, but are layered over. The worst offender is ‘DJFH’, which has terribly annoying synths coupled with terribly bad vocals. There are just too many dropped or downright dissonant notes.
On the one hand it is great to have a lot of different styles, on the other hand, the album lacks cohesion. It bounces around from totally awesome to rather unpleasant, and with such an experienced bunch of musicians it really ought to be better.