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ANTIPOP

Primus

 

Prog Related

3.44 | 57 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Primus' 1999 album would fare better than their previous studio effort The Brown Album, but still wouldn't live up to the excellent albums that preceded it. This album would also prove to the their last true studio album (unless you can count the Animals Should Not Try to Act Like Humans reunion collection a studio album), and their last to feature the drumming talents of Brian "Brain" Mantia. This album would also have a slew of guest producers and guest musicians, with the producers ranging from Stewart Copeland to Tom Waits (and even Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park), and the guest musicians ranging from Tom Morello to James Hetfield. Despite the title of the album being Antipop, this album is probaby their most commercial effort to date and had a hit song in Lacquer Head.

Rather than discuss every track (as there are a lot of them), I'll talk about the tracks that really got my attention and were very good. The first of which is Lacquer Head, which is nothing more than a straightfoward hard rock/metal song and yet the guitar and bass interplay is quite nice and the multi-layered vocals are quite nice as well. The Antipop is an interesting piece with some interesting guitar work from LeLonde and a nice drum performance from Mantia, as well as a nice modulated bass tone from Claypool. Eclectic Electric is among the two longer tracks of the album, this one at about eight and a half minutes (the other one would be Coattails of a Dead Man). It paved the way for tracks like The Last Superpower off of Animals... with the psychedelic echo bass intro, with many layers of intertwining and melodic bass lines filling the main sound. About halfway into the piece the sound of it completely changes from atmospheric to crushingly heavy, and the change and dynamic that brings in the change is actually rather nice.

Greet the Sacred Cow begins with an Indian sounding chant and atmosphere and some mixed percussion from Mantia with an underlying modulated bass line from Claypool. The lyrics are rather humorous and the overall feel of the song is fun (and the chord progression is killer). Dirty Drowning Man is the Stewart Copeland produced track of the album, and you wouldn't actually know it unless you saw it mentioned anywhere (naturally). The bass is great and the drumming at times reminds me of Tim Alexander and the guitar ranges from Lifeson-esque arpeggios to muddy block chords with a Frippian edge. The Final Voyage of the Liquid Sky begins with a great modulated bass solo. It's one of the best, if not the best song on the album, most definitely along with the next track the most progressive of the album. Coattails of a Deadman is a bit of a strange tune, with an ill-setting mellotron line and some disheartening lyrics (supposedly a slam against Courtney Love), as well as some Tom Waits vocal wails. The main track runs for about the first 5 minutes and then there is silence. Around the 6 minute mark another song comes around. A secret track? Most likely. The song itself is the old Primus song The Heckler (which made its debut on the album Suck on This). It's a surprising ending and I really liked the song on Suck on This so this version is just as good.

In the end, Antipop isn't a bad album at all, it just doesn't compare stylistically with previous Primus efforts (disregarding The Brown Album, of course). Fans of Prog Metal will probably find something to like with the crushingly heavy overall sound, but I'm not so sure that they'll like the over the top basslines (which is the main sound of Primus). Me? I'm in the middle on the album, there's some definitely awesome material and some material that leaves me a bit cold and is mainly mediocre. To quote a lyric from The Heckler, "It's just a matter of opinion". 3/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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