A Primitive Evolution – [Album]

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Remember back between the years 1997 and 2002 – after Alice In Chains went on hiatus but before Layne Staley died, when a bunch of bands including Staind, Godsmack, Days Of The New, Creed and a whole platoon of other soundalike bands rushed in to try and fill the void that band left? Pretty consistently, the first thing each of them did was down-tune their acoustic guitars to try and replicate the cathartic sound that AIC acheived on Jar Of Flies and during their Unplugged set but what they ended up developing was an intensely moody little sound and scene of their own. In the grand scheme of things, that “moody, acoustic” musical movement was more important for the musical ideas and precedents it developed than it was for the music itself; the idea of translating heavy rock songs to acoustic instruments and thereby letting the raw emotion of the performance be the focus rather than the decibels was a very attractive one, and it's the one which has really helped to re-shape heavy rock and the making of it ever since. That angle of presentation has certainly proved to yield some interesting results for A Primitive Evolution now, as their newest release, The Prize, illustrates.

From the moment “Lord Of Reason” shuffles in to open the proceedings, listeners will feel themselves instinctively taking a step back to respectfully give the band a wide berth because the band just seems to wear that sort of air about them. There's something epic in the acoustic guitar octave pattern that guitarists Brett and Scott Carruthers throw down to open the song as well as the rigid, wooden soul of Brett's voice which recalls the woodsy, simmering aggression of Alice In Chains and Days Of The New which is impossible to deny; A.P.E. might have won a couple of hearts with their 2009 self-titled album, but it's like they've finally grown a reason and don't need an excuse anymore to strut like roosters and command like brigadier generals.

It suddenly seems like there's a new band walking the line, and listeners know they're advised to watch them, but certainly not cross them.

That introduction is infectious, but the band manages to keep their swagger swinging using similar implements through “Show Me,” “Dead End,” the title track and “Comin' + Going.” At each of those points, the band shows how aggressive an acoustic band can be ask the guitars bite hard and Stephany Seki's bass towers darkly behind them, seemingly in wait for the command to explode. It's a dramatic presentation, certainly, made all the better by the fact that the band clearly did their homework before pressing record; every movement here is measured beautifully to ensure that listeners pick up nothing other than what the band wants them to see. The double edge to such careful, crafty playing is that it sometimes runs the risk of veering too close to other bands (“Won't Let You Down,” for example, rips off Limblifter's “Ariel Vs. Lotus” pretty blatantly – whether it's intentional or not) but, for the most part, The Prize successfully does what it was supposed to: get A Primitive Evolution a pretty good foothold onto a musical form which has more to do with pop than metal and introduce their abilities to a broader audience. There's no way to say whether or not they'll break, but this record and the earnest stance of it proves not just that they want to, but that they deserve to.



The Prize
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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