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5 stars This is one of my top 10 favourite albums of all time and a underrated item in the primus discography.To Defy The Laws Of Tradition is has one of the best intros to an album every an extremly energetic and addictive tune with great musicianship as always from the primus team.every song on this is amazing even the short little filers are quite good but after a while if you can help it you will probably skip it favourites are To defy the laws of tradition,Pudding Time,Groundhogs Day,Frizzle Fry im very pleased that Primus are now on the archives (it took to long for this to happen) and i wouldnt suggest this super funky weird group to everybody but if youre fans of Mr Bungle,Rush,Phish and if youre a bass player you hafe to listen to this or anything by Primus.
Report this review (#41976)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A true classic, but certainly not for every prog fan. This is arguably Primus' most influential work (close with Seas of Cheese), and it is heavily laden with elements of RUSH, KING CRIMSON, and the RESIDENTS. The album is dominated by intricate and highly technical musicianship, particularly Les's bass and Tim Alexander's intense drumming style. The songs are fun and lovably absurd, yet even songs with seemingly silly titles and lyrics can deal with heavy topics (for instance "Too Many Puppies" is a scathing anti-war song, presumably aimed at the Gulf War). Each track is strong in its own uniqe way, from simple, bass-and-drum heavy songs like "Too Many Puppies", "John the Fisherman", and "Spagetti Western", to much more intricate and almost psychadelic songs such as "Groundhog Day" and the title track. The album also has a couple of weirdo interludes such as "You Can't Kill Michael Malloy" and "Sathington Willoghby", which are certainly weird enough to compliment the rest of the album, but not long enough to be annoying. The funky track "Harold of the Rocks" is certainly a treat to behold. Bottom line, listen to Frizzle Fry if you like 80's and latter-day King Crimson, pretty much any Rush, if you enjoy the absurdity of the Residents and Mr. Bungle, or even if you enjoy amazing bass guitar work, intense drums, and interesting guitar techniques.
Report this review (#42010)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here's a review I wrote while listening to the album for the very first time. I've only heard Pork Soda before this one. Turned out to be a classic, one of the best albums I've heard in a long time.

To Defy The Laws of Tradition starts out with a great intro and bounces into this classic hard rock - metal riff. Definitely a headbanger, starts off the album perfectly, and the title is one of Primus' best. Fun song! You will get this stuck in your head more often than any of the other songs, I reckon. The riff is simple yet very catchy. Only a few notes in the whole riff!

Ground Hog's Day starts off with this lazy laid back groove. Shows a bit of another side to Primus. Is a bit of a different song for the album and goes very well, a favorite without a doubt!

Too Many Puppies might be my favorite song on here, I can't decide. It has a very metal riff and is a sure headbanger. If you don't headbang along with this one, you are a square.

The title track has a great groove. Around the 5 minute mark it just blasts into this insane jam with awesome solo, which might be the loudest and noisiest moment on the album. Yet another huge headbanger!

You Can't Kill Michael Malloy may be another novelty track but I like this one. It's kind of silly goofy instrumental of someone else playing, not Primus I don't believe. A nice break to rest your neck from headbanging and prepare for the next onslaught.

Toys Go Winding Down starts with a nifty little beat then just blasts into an incredible heavy groove. Features some really neat bass effects. You guessed it, another obvious headbanger, just listen to that! The middle section has some actually nice sounding fiddle work and some powerful bass. That section is a bit quieter and adds some variety to the song.

Pudding Time starts with an undeniably funky heavy riff. If there ever was a band that could combine serious metal and hard rock with funk, this is the band. Guitar work towards the end of the song sounds very similar to how Kurt Cobain played.

Sathing Willoby is another pointless novelty track, but it's not too long so it isn't too distracting. Annoying, yes, but a bit creative, yes too. Kind of like The Air Is Getting Slippery on Pork Soda. Doesn't really go with the album.

Spaghetti Western has an incredibly innovative drum beat and the guitar has a lot of feedback. Lyrics are a bit spoken word. Solo SERIOUSLY rocks out around the 2 minute mark, which is layered over an insane funk bassline and a genius drum beat. If you don't nod your head to this, you are a lame-o indeed. Around 3 1/2 minutes there is a guitar solo and a bass solo going on! These guys are GENIUSES. One of the best tracks on the album without a doubt. Musicianship is absolutely flawless on every instrument.

Hard of The Rocks is a very typical Primus song. It has an great groovy beat going on, seriously downright rocks in some parts, yet still makes you laugh out loud if you really listen to it. Very enjoyable. At the 2 1/2 minute mark is where Primus gets VERY progressive. It evolves into this slow, almost 'Since I've Been Loving You' by Led Zeppelin jam with the best guitar solo on the album. This Todd Huth guy was REALLY good. Goes from Jimmy Page one minute to Tony Iommi the next minute to Steve Vai the next. After the solo it jumps back to the original groove. The ending on this song is classic!

To Defy is a good way to end the album. Reminds you of what a great riff there is in To Defy The Laws of Tradition, in case you forgot. It also gets the riff stuck in your head as it fades out. Haha!

I rarely ever give out 5 star ratings. This isn't a 5 star, I wouldn't say. It's probably 4.5 or 4.6 to be exactly precise. It isn't exactly a masterpiece of PROGRESSIVE music, but it is without a doubt a masterpiece. It has occasional progressive goodies, but as music in general, this is absolute top-notch. You apparently like prog by visiting this site and if you like hard rock as well, you'll love this. At the point this album was recorded, Claypool probably wasn't as good as he evolved to be (buy Pork Soda just so you can hear the intro to the song DMV - the most mindblowing thing ever done on a bass guitar), but he is still miles and miles ahead of pretty much any bass player you can name. Primus' best album. If you're not sure about them, get this. Hell, if you have ears, consider picking this one up. You won't be dissappointed.

Report this review (#47945)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hell yeah!! Primus on progarchives! One of my favorite bands, these guys really show what experimental,highly technical music can sound like with a stupid sense of life. Les Claypool throughout his career has done some things that lots of bass players ever wished they could've done. I think Les Claypool even makes fun of them by playing funny but extremely technical bass riffs. But hey, Primus os not only Les Claypool. Larry Lalonde, a death metal guitar player with Fripp influences also adds someting unique to the band, while the great Tim Alexander adds some crazy arrangements. I really enjoy listening to this music and I also have to add that this band is the first step in entering the world of bizarre music. After Primus comes Mr Bungle, then John Zorn, then The Residents and things keep getting weirder and with less sense. Anyway, great music, definetely some progressive elements here and in all the later Primus albums also. Extremely recommended
Report this review (#48783)
Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To begin with this is an amazing album. Before the album even gets into the first song there is a brief YYZ into (as found on Suck On This). Because I love this album very much I will put my own review for each song.

To Defy the Laws of Tradition- After the YYZ intro comes one of my favorite bass riffs. This adds so much depth to the beginning of the album and is in some aspects, very progressive. There are two major parts of the song. The verses have an amazing blend of complicated bass/drum lines as well as a simple but interesting guitar riff over the song. The chorus and the end switch styles by having the bass keep the beat while a near atonal style of playing guitar adds depth. One of the best songs on the album.

GroundHog's Day- This was an old Primus song before Tim Alexander and Larry LaLonde (Actually before they were called Primus too). Again a very good bass introduction with a very groovy beat. Then 2 1/2 minutes into the song comes the faster half. By the 4th minute there is a little jazzy riff and then a loud ending.

Too Many Puppies- This song is in no way a progressive piece. Great anti-war metal song and this is the easiest song Primus will ever play.

Mr. Knowitall- Interesting lyrics but musically it isn't one of my favorites on the album.

Frizzle Fry- This is progressive music in my opinion. (As far as Primus will ever get) Again Les will never steer you wrong with a bass riff. This bizarre blend is one of the standout tracks and the lyrics enter you to the weird and unusual world of Claypool. If you listen to nothing else listen to this track. ("If you don't believe in me play this tune over again")

John the Fisherman- Another metal song in the vein of Too Many Puppies. Amazing drums that really convince you of Herb's ability to play.

You Can't Kill Michael Malloy- This isn't even Primus. Just a little ditty that they put to make the album even more strange.

As the Toys Go Winding Down- Another song similar to Frizzle Fry. Again lyrically it is very off the wall. Not one of the better songs on the album.

Pudding Time- Amazing bass, funny lyrics, worth listening to.

Sathington Willoughby- The first of two Willoughby-bashing (See the first track of the Brown album)

Spegetti Western- Good drum beats and the only full jamming song of the album. "It has that good reverb sound". A decent song overall.

Harold of the Rocks- The best story song of the album. After 2 minutes or so the song disintegrates and after an extended solo the final verse comes in. A very funny end to the song.

To Defy- Just a short outtake to To Defy the Laws of Tradition but with more reverb.

Hello Skinny/ Constantinople- It isn't mentioned above on the album tracks but on my CD they add a cover of the Residents' "Hello Skinny". A decent song but nothing amazing (But I give them credit anyway for liking the Residents).

Overall if you are open-minded and enjoy the heavier side of prog then this is definitely an album worth picking up. Don't expect all of it to be progressive but expect it to be musically outstanding and you will get just that.

Report this review (#63451)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I like Frizzle Fry very much. It is an inspired piece with many memorable songs(a few less-than great ones too, though). The re-issue tacks on a medley of the Residents songs Hello Skinny and Constantinople. The Residents are one of my all time favorite bands...but, I'll save that for one of my reviews of their work.
Report this review (#85509)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the solid live debut in Suck on This, Primus released their debut studio effort in Frizzle Fry in 1990 on Caroline records (they would make the jump to Interscope before making their next album, which would be considered their best). But let me say this before you read further or consider Primus as your next purchase, this group is definitely not for everyone. If you aren't into heavily bass oriented rock that strays into many different territories than this album won't change your opinion as the bass is really the centerpiece of the album. Also, if you like serious introspective lyrics and vocals you won't find that here either, the approach is closer to Zappa vocally than anything else (which I know doesn't always sit well with people who like serious music). That said, I think of all the early Primus albums Frizzle Fry is the best, as it has them at their most creative and their most willing to try new things. But I'm not the judge of what you like, I'm only writing this to inform you on how I feel about it and hope that it helps you.

Anyway, the album opens with a brief segment from the introduction of Rush's YYZ before going head first into To Defy The Laws of Tradition, which is a nice riff based hard rock song with some nice shrill Fripp-esque chords from LeLonde and a steady and complicated bass line from Claypool as well as a great drum beat from Alexander. Groundhog's Day has a nice laidback bass line from Claypool and some fluid leads from LeLonde comprising of the main motif. Nothing really else besides that, which takes up most of the song anyway. Too Many Puppies is probably the heaviest song on the album, and it's a pretty solid piece that doesn't stray into uncharted territory but it has a nice enough riff with a great anti-war message beneath it all. Solid playing on all players parts here. Mr. Knowitall has a great drum performance from Alexander but after that it pretty much is a standard affair with some okay lyrics and some fun yet predictable bass/guitar playing. Frizzle Fry is one of the best pieces on the album mainly because of the spectacular bass playing by Claypool and a nice ethereal guitar part on LeLonde. The bass interludes are also great because of the overall feel it conveys, as well as it just sounds plain awesome.

John the Fisherman was the single from the album, and though it has a similar overall progression and feel to the opener of the album To Defy the Laws of Tradition (despite a cool introduction with some great distorted bass), it's a harmless piece of fun mainly about being a fisherman in the San Francisco Bay Area (where Primus hails from). You Can't Kill Michael Malloy is a little interlude that isn't even actually by Primus, but was written by Matthew Winegar. It's a bit of an odd piece that doesn't really have a place on this album, but it's short and it's harmless, so it doesn't really bother me that much. The Toys Go Winding Down has a frenetic and fast paced bass riff from Claypool (after a somewhat joyous intro) and some great drumming and guitar work from Alexander and LeLonde. This is actually one of the best and most engaging pieces on the album and one of my favorites, as well. Pudding Time has some simplistic chord based guitar themes and a frantic rhythmic section (although the guitars do get a bit hectic as well with the leads and the sawing high pitched chords). It's not my favorite piece on the album, nor was it my favorite piece when it premiered on Suck on This.

Sathington Willoughby is a character name that would appear on many Primus albums in different variations (Sathington Waltz on Sailing the Seas of Cheese and The Return of Sathington Willoughby on The Brown Album). It's a short vocal led piece that acts as more of an interlude to Spegetti Western than anything else. Spegetti Western begins with a technical and precision drum beat from Alexander (who makes good use of the kit throughout the album) and some spacey feedback from LeLonde before Claypool's vocals come in before a great slap bassed bass line comes in with some wild Frippian guitar ideas in the background (LeLonde seems influenced by Andy Summers, Robert Fripp, and Frank Zappa from what I can gather in his overall sound). It's a great song and the next piece is equally as great. Harold of the Rocks is a burst of energy with some refreshing wah tones and some strong drumming/bass interplay between Claypool and Alexander before some great instrumental interludes (especially a bluesy one towards the end that really is a spot for LeLonde to show his definite soloing style and his abilities). To Defy is essentially a short reiteration of the opening theme and it ends the album much like it began, giving the whole thing a continuous feel.

In the end, this is probably my favorite Primus studio album. Granted, it's not perfect and it doesn't really have a lot that can be called progressive, but there are moments when you really can hear some great creativity and some incredibly technical musicianship shine through. If I were to recommend one Primus album to you it would be this one mainly because most of this album is very strong (there's some ok material that I'm not wowed by but that's few and far between). Primus definitely isn't for everyone, but if you want to give them a shot, I'd say get this album or Sailing the Seas of Cheese (their next studio effort). 4.5/5.

Report this review (#85715)
Posted Friday, August 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first album of Primus I heard, and really the only one I fell to like alot. Primus is a band that I adore for their genious bass guitar (me being a lover of the bass guitar), but the style is something I was never able to obsess over like many others I know. I was given Frizzle Fry by my uncle and when I heard it, him telling me it was a great album I held it in high expectations, and after listening to it several times I'd have to say it's one of the least disapointing albums. It's a good listen. Once I believed I like them I got thier other albums like Pork Soda, Sailing the Seas of Cheese. Sadly none of htem were that great, not to compare them to this album, that would be unfair, they weren't that great as single albums. Frizzle Fry, on the other hand is Primus' finest works with plenty of Prog attributes to the album, unlike their other albums. If your interested in Primus, then get this album it's good, if you think they're okay. You can't really be disapointed with this album. Good songs on the album, Mr. Know-It-All, Too Many Puppies, Pudding Time, Frizzle Fry, To Defy the Laws of Tradition, Groundhogs Day, and plenty plenty more. Thier short 30 second interludes are good, and the album is altogether an excellent addition to any prog collection. 4/5 stars, it's a good listen from a band like Primus.
Report this review (#93126)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, I recently decided to check out Primus, after hearing so much about the great Claypool's bass talent. I am also a big fan of South Park, and have always liked the riff to the theme song. Apparently Claypool is a big fan of South Park, and having seen the original pilot, Primus obliged when Trey Parker asked them to write a theme song for the show.

So I acquired "Frizzle Fry" and "Sailing the Seas of Cheese". I put on Frizzle Fry for the first time, brimming with excitement. The first song "To Defy the Laws of Tradition" I thought was quite good, catchy riff and some neat vocal sections. I was turned off by the screaming vocals and harsh guitar sound, and hoped that it was just that song.. Next came Ground Hog Day, a funkier one that I was immediately attracted to. I was grooving to it, then the screaming indescernable vocals returned. Too bad. After hearing they had defined their own genre of "Psych Polka" I was hoping for some slower more laid back canterbury type music.

The rest of the CD follows this track, with that terrible screaming the guitar and the annoying bass pedals. The vocals are the main turn-off for me, I suppose completely indiscernible high pitched screaming isn't my type of vocals. Ideally, I would have loved to see this album have less mindless guitar, drums and vocals, and more elaboration on those hidden gems within the madness. Les' bass playing is the highlight here, some very innovative stuff.

The production is terrible, that very hot "treble and bass, no midrange or depth" mastering is present here. I had to clear the blood off of my headphones and recliner after I let this one run it's course.

I guess I made the mistake of wandering into thrash music, being a fan of Symphonic prog. Probably to radical of a change for me, maybe others would be able to pick something else that I may have overlooked. I'll come back to it, someday.

Report this review (#107783)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars My favourite primus album,it rocks throughout.For me i hear a band rather then Claypool and the other two,their isnt a single let down with each song remaining better then the next and herbs drumming deserves an honourable mention. An essential Primus album if you like this i recommend sail the seas of cheese.
Report this review (#134877)
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ah, PRIMUS. Have to admit, I would never have expected to see them here. I see PRIMUS as a cross between funk and southern blues/rock. Their off-beat humour and ability to transcend genres seems to have earned them a 'prog-related' listing here. Delightful fun, arguably a waste of LES CLAYPOOL's prodigious talent (the man could be anything he wanted), and worth a listen.

The music is founded on deep bass funk: LES CLAYPOOL is perhaps the leading bass exponent in popular music today. More, he's not afraid to experiment. The result is music that is fast, fun, dirty and uneven. Lyrics are caustic and either cryptic or political, and are sung in a voice that is definitely an acquired taste, an exaggerated southern drawl that is more than occasionally flat. In my view this just adds to the charm, but some listeners will simply cringe.

'Frizzle Fry' is a good starting place to judge whether this band has anything of interest for you. It's their debut, though all members had been professional musicians for some time. The music is muddy by design, and certainly sounds nothing like traditional prog! The relatively short, funky numbers would suit those who enjoy bands like TALKING HEADS and PETER GABRIEL. Highlights of this album include 'John the Fisherman' and 'Harold of the Rocks', but the record is uneven and I doubt many people will find every song to their liking.

Report this review (#160614)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Frizzle Fry is the debut studio album from American experimental funk/ metal/ rock act Primus. Primus released a live album called Suck on This in 1989, but Frizzle Fry is their official studio debut. Primus is one of those bands that falls under the catagory Aquired Taste. Either people love them or people hate them. I´m a freak case though as I´m caught in the middle. I have always respected Primus for their outstanding musicianship, but on the other hand never really enjoyed their music much. I have to say that this is a rough generalization as I do enjoy some of their songs.

The music on Frizzle Fry is funky rock/ metal which is dominated by Les Claypool´s slap and tab bass lines and Tim Herb Alexander´s excellent drumming. The dissonant guitar lines from Larry LaLonde ( Former member of thrash metal legends Possessed)was never my cup of tea, but they are a great part of Primus sound too. Les Claypool has a very distinct almost spoken vocal style which can be compared to both David Byrne ( Talking Heads) and Adrian Belew ( Frank Zappa, King Crimson). The songs are generally pretty basic in structure and it´s more the innovative interplay between the musicians that´s progressive than the actual songs IMO.

The album starts in grand fashion and I´m left wondering why I don´t like this band more than I do. The first six songs are actually pretty good. Songs like Too Many Puppies and the title track are very good songs IMO. The problem with Frizzle Fry is that the quality drops after song number six John the Fisherman. Or maybe it´s not the quality that drops. Maybe the songs just seem too similar and the style just gets generic after a while? The conclusion is that I get bored about half way through the album.

The musicianship is as I mentioned above outstanding. Both Les Claypool and Tim Herb Alexander are distinct and excellent musicians. It´s a real treat to listen to their many innovative ideas. I´m sure that if you can enjoy the dissonant guitar style from Larry LaLonde you´ll feel the same way about him. There´s nothing wrong with his technical skills that´s for sure.

The production is excellent. It´s loud and metallic.

Frizzle Fry is not an album I listen to very often. In fact it was very dusty when I took it down from my shelf to make this review. I do enjoy some features on the album even though this is not my favorite type of music. One of those features is the outstanding musicianship, but I also enjoy the weird humour that always surrounded everything Primus did. This is high quality music and even though I´m not a fan I´ll rate it 3 stars. I just wish I could sail in a sea of cheese with John the Fisherman.

Report this review (#187325)
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars WARNING: If you're looking for traditional or safe prog, don't buy this and then complain about how it doesn't sound like Genesis.

If you are a bassist or someone who loves bass/rhythm work, there's no question. Get this album. Even if you don't like the style, you'll appreciate the musicianship. Les Claypool heavily re-defined the idea of a bassist on this album, and that alone makes it worth 4 or more stars.

1. To Defy the Laws of Tradition- From the Rush tribute opening fading out to a catchy, funky, and repetitive Claypool bass line, and then to a screeching guitar and funky drums... this is one hell of a song. This has to be one of my favorite Primus songs and really shows what they're all about. Claypool's vocals are good for what they're worth as well, though he's definitely an acquired taste. To defy the law of tradition is the CRUSADE ONLY OF THE BRAAAAAVE!! Awesome stuff. 10/10

2. Groundhog's Day- Another good track here with typical epic, funky Claypool bass line and drums really moving the song along. The feel to this one is extremely neat, and the bursting segment at the end of the song is genius. 9/10

3. Too Many Puppies- Great cymbal intro, really good song. TOO MANY PUUUUUUUPPIES! If you're not annoyed by Claypool's occasional vocals by now, then it's probably a good sign. I personally love them, but I know some people who don't really care for them. Primus wouldn't be the same without it. This one has more of a straightforward, metal feel to it. 8/10

4. Mr. Knowitall- From the vocal intro, this song then shows more awesome Primus rock. I absolutely love the line where Claypool is like They call me Mr. Knowitall, I am so eloquent; perfection is my middle name... and whatever rhymes with eloquent! and it further showcases the humorous aspect to Primus. Fantastic playing as usual. 9/10

5. Frizzle Fry- What else can be said? Perfect bass lines, rhythm genius, and a great song structure. Also some hilarious vocals by Claypool once again. This one is a bit of a slower one though, but that definitely doesn't make it any less awesome. May be my favorite on here. 10/10

6. John the Fisherman- This is the song that got me interested in Primus. It's really more geared for radio play, but that doesn't make it any less of a good song. WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE ONE OF THE HARVESTERS OF THE SEA! Great bass work and I really like the erratic guitar. 9/10

7. You Can't Kill Michael Milloy- Hard to rate. Interesting interlude. 7/10

8. The Toys Go Winding Down- Great song and the bass line is quite interesting. For some reason though, this song doesn't quite enthrall me like the previous ones. Nonetheless, it's really hard to find fault with this. 7/10

9. Pudding Time- What time is it? 'sPuddingtime! So says Claypool anyway. Another awesome song. I really like the drum and guitar work especially on this one after the intro; that part is epic. 6/10

10. Sathington Willoby- Similar to Michael Milloy. Great interlude, but very hard to rate because it's less than 30 seconds. 7/10

11. Spegetti Western- GREAT drumming here. I really like the way that this song builds. This track has a very manic feel to it with the guitar, which fits the Primus sound quite well. Headbanging track! 10/10

12. Harold of the Rocks- Cool, funky feel to this one. The musicianship is again excellent. Apparently it's about a guy named Harold. The different effects that Claypool pulls with his bass here are interesting. 9/10

13. To Defy- Awesome way to end the album with a reprise of the first song except demented. 8/10

Seriously, if you have an open mind and particularly are a bassist, I have trouble NOT recommending this to you. It is not fully essential for every prog collection (because not every progger would like it and it's not straight up prog), but it definitely is an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Great album!

Report this review (#190569)
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ssssszzzzzzztttt.

Is it just me or does the album cover art here make it look like the guys were doing a little too much LDS back in the day? Primus is a band that I'm not entirely sure I would have gone for back in 1989. Then again I had lightened up from my zombie prog pod person phase and was listening to stuff like Laurie Anderson's Strange Angels, Tim Fin's first solo album, Sarah McLachlan's Solace, and XTC's Oranges & Lemons along with a lot of stuff officially prog around these parts.

I'm going to have to take a little issue with this album being merely prog related. Maybe it's just a little too funky, I don't know. At a time when many of the older guys were fizzling or going commercial, this trio belted out some excellent tunes, though not your father's prog. The band was undeniably influenced by some of the great names in prog. The musicianship is top notch. The music is heavy, complex, and more than a tad bit weird.

Report this review (#228837)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Do you like fishing? Do you like metal/funk with a redneck frontman? Do you like acid? well you're in luck!! Primus is the name, and all these things are their game as they take you on journeys into unknown territory that sometimes make no sense hence their humour. My skater brother introduced them to me in the early nineties and they are definitely one of the bands that are unclassifiable..... people that could love them can include everyone from a hardcore prog lover, to skaters, to surfers and even death metal heads. This album is a great intro to any new primus listener, as they will immediately recognize the skill of these 3 guys. Les is a pioneer in bass playing and experimentation, and has some of the greats as his influence. Even though I like Brain, and love the brown album in its own way, I am more partial to pick an album with this one for instance as ""to defy..." and "harold" are some of my favorite songs from this power trio. For fans of Rush/slayer/james brown/bela fleck/ basically anyone really..... as long as you can have an open mind Some say they are an acquired taste..... this may be true, but really you just gotta be open and have fun with them. Dont make the mistake of classifying them with groups like Anglagard, Crimson, Estradasphere, or Mahavishnu, as you might not allow yourself to appreciate them for what they are.
Report this review (#241678)
Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This was PRIMUS' debut from 1990 and what an entrance they made. Les Claypool's in your face bass and that funky rhythm was different all right. Add those humerous lyrics and unique vocals and they were a success. I really thought of RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS a lot when listening to this. Now i'm not a fan of that band so it's not necessarily a good thing, but man it's hard not to enjoy this catchy stuff.

"To Defy The Laws Of Tradition" opens with several seconds of "YYZ" before this funky rhythm eventually takes over. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. You gotta like the guitar before 4 minutes. "Ground Hog's Day" is laid back although the bass is prominant. It kicks in and these contrasts continue. The final minute is really powerful. "Too Many Puppies" is so catchy and funky. "Mr. Knowitall" features some prominant guitar but the rhythm still dominates. "Frizzle Fry" is a powerful mid paced tune. Huge bass in this one.

"John The Fisherman" is a highlight. "You Can't Kill Michael Malloy" is a short violin / piano piece. "The Toys Go Winding Down" turns heavy quickly. Vocals a minute in. "Pudding Time" opens with some fat bass as guitar and drums join in quickly. "Sathington Willoughby" is a short vocal and drum piece. "Spagetti Western" opens with drums before the guitar makes some noise. Bass and vocals join in. This one rocks ! "Harold Of The Rocks" is funny lyrically. Funky stuff. "To Defy" is a short but amazing tune.

I can't give the fourth star on this one. I'd love to see these guys live, it would be a riot.

Report this review (#282007)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Original, sparkling, humorous, catchy and firing on all cylinders ... Primus took the cross-over scene by storm back in the 90's. It all revolves around Les Claypool, band leader, eccentric vocalist and virtuoso bass player.

The music can't really be compared to much else. The bass-heavy songwriting with fast and furious funky slapping is well known from Red Hot Chili Peppers but Primus makes more dramatic compositions. Tracks like Frizzle Fry are frantic and adventurous, driven by raging bass guitar and pounding drums. The punk fury at the end even reminds me of NoMeansNo. Primus reached quite an audience back in the days and they sure have had an influence on Rage Against The Machine. At least, that's what I conclude from tracks like John The Fisherman.

Contrary to mentioned bands, Primus has something proggy, it's hard to lay a finger on but I guess it could be due to the quirkiness of the music, the weird time-signatures or the imaginative playfulness of it. Either that or it's just because of the short YYZ quote at the start of the album. I try to be a well behaved and docile PA member but it really doesn't sit well with me to have this band in prog related. This is at least Crossover Prog.

Even with the basic sounds of unpolished bass, drums and a bit of guitar, Primus manages to keep the album very interesting and versatile. The rhythms and songs are very dynamic and the number of ways that Claypool invents to assault his bass guitar is sheer endless. Still, by the time Spegetti Western comes along, we're a good 40 minutes into the album and I've kind of got the message. It's a minor complaint but the album would have been stronger had it been 10 minutes shorter.

For some reason Frizzle Fry hasn't been a regular feature in my CD-player, but it was a pleasant reunion when spinning it a couple of times for this review. Made me feel like 19 again! 4 stars.

Report this review (#282631)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Primus changed my life and it shows. I am constantly growing into a more different person, than I was when I listened to music that everybody else listened to. Thanks to Primus I found great and original bands like: King Crimson, Incubus, Mr. Bungle, The Residents and Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention. When I first heard this album, my mind was completely blown away by the weirdness. All the tracks were kind of heavy first (especially "Too Many Puppies"), but then they turned very strange, but in a good way. I strongly recommend this CD to anyone who wants to hear something that is funky, crazy, dark and gloomy, but also has this comedic feeling to them, the same kind of feeling that Frank Zappa has in his songs.
Report this review (#550604)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the introduction to the world of Primus. Listed under many genres Primus managed to find a way to slip into the archives as well. I think prog related is a fine spot for them since this album or band would appeal to a lot of prog fans, since they feature a high standard of musicianship and such a cool mixture of syles, incorporating a lot of awesome off beat time signature interludes. There aren't so many bands that brought such a fresh, fierce in-your-face sound at their very begining, I was pretty blown away the first time I heard this back in 1992, and I'm still lovin' it 20 years later. The trio of Les Claypool, Larry Lalonde and Tim Alexander fits like a glove and seems so natural, reminding me of other trios like Rush. Maybe it's not a coincidence that they were so influenced by them and also decided to dedicate the first few seconds of the album to YYZ's intro, making us believe as if they were going to play it.

Except for Anti Pop released in 1999, this is their heaviest album. Claypool's bass is still very high in the mix and is the first thing you'll notice at first listen, but still Lalonde's guitars are fairly heavy and aggressive, something that will gradually reduce from this point on. Primus's style is so cool and fresh, mixing hard rocking and quirky almost funky riffs with a lot of groove and humor, but always with high standard and professional playing. But still Primus are and always will be an acquired taste. I would rank this as their best album along with 'Tales From The Punchbowl'. What makes this an excellent album is the sheer energy bursting out of these young dudes expressed in every single song. Claypool's bass is pounding away like there is no tomorrow while Lalonde's guitars are tasty but stil hard rocking as hell, featuring some excellent solos, noises and everything in between. As legendary those two are I think Tim Alexander is really stealing the show here. Enjoying an excellent drum sound (especially the toms) Alexander is totally original and has a very groovy style but still can be very fierce.

The album's material is fantastic, there are no fillers or weak songs but if I'll have to name a few highlights I would pick 'Groundhog's Day' with it's slow groovy main theme which later breaks into a fast ride ending with a heavy bang. 'Mr. Knowitall' could be my all time favorite and the most progy song by the band, gradually moving from one riff to the other circulating around the main riff with superb guitars and excellent drumming, if this is not good than I don't know what is. 'Frizzle Fry' (the song) again begins slowly and breaks into fast heavy madness, reminds me a lot of The Necromancer's rocking middle section by Rush. 'Spegetti Western' and 'Harold on the Rocks' the two closing tracks include some stellar performance by all three.

Primus's music could sound a bit straight forward but it is really not. Repeated listenings will surely reveal their progy influences and their masterful playing. This is actually an easy 5 stars for me, aside from the excellent writing and playing what makes it a 5 star album is the fact that Primus brought something new, fresh and exciting to the upcoming alternative scene in the end of the 80's and early 90's, something that doesn't sound quite like it.


Report this review (#821942)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars By now, most people are somewhat familiar with the chaotic, crazy, maniacal music of Primus. Of course it fits into the ProgArchives because of the originality of the music and the influence of some great progressive artists that have inspired this mad, yet amazing music that always sounds like it is teetering on the edge of implosion. So, it's not for everyone, it's is for me and I loved it from the first time I heard it. No one, however, can deny the fact that the 3 members of this band are amazing musicians that fit together so well.

This band gets it's influence from some of the most eclectic and eccentric progressive bands including The Residents, Frank Zappa, Metallica, King Crimson and Rush. Meld all of these sounds together and what you get is Primus....yet even though Primus wear their influences proudly, they have taken this sound and made it their very own.

Frizzle Fry is their debut album and they hit the ground running. This is an amazing album, a showcase of the band's talents and their signature sound. This album was originally released and not well received by the public. I don't know if the public was ready for it at the time or if it just didn't get the spotlight it deserved. However, the album was reissued after the huge successful popularity of the next album "Sailing the Seas of Cheese". Since then, this album has quickly become a favorite of mine and every Primus fan and it features many of the band's legendary songs including "John the Fisherman" (featured on one of the Guitar Hero editions which I have attempted to play and have a blast doing it, even though I suck at it, it's still a blast to play the song), "Puddin' Time", "Too Many Puppies", and "Mr. Knowitall", every one of these songs an amazing blast of whacked out noise and chaos, teetering somewhere between conventional heavy rock and insanity. There are other great songs on here besides the regular classics including "To Deny the Laws of Tradition", "Groundhog's Day" "Harold of the Rocks" and so on. There are a few more blues oriented rockers, but when I say blues, I mean it in a very non-traditional way, like the multi rhythmic title track and the softer (?) side of Primus featured in "The Toys Go Winding Down". Yep, that's as soft as it gets for Primus, which is still heavy.

Many say this music isn't for everyone, and that's's too chaotic, but that is what I love the most about it, and it's unpredictable on the first several listening's. The sound does tend to get predictable though as one gets used to their music, but to me, it never gets tiring. This album in my opinion is one of the band's best, it's a pinnacle to bass driven/guitar heavy rock, it's loud and heavy, and it doesn't really let up much except for a few short interludes. Also, if you get the reissue, you get as a bonus track a cover of one of their major influence's songs, actually a medley of 2 of The Residents songs "Hello Skinny/Constantinople" which is a worthy cover with the Primus sound. Definitely worth looking for the bonus track and it fits very nicely with the rest of the album. I have to give this 5 stars because it is an essential showcase for the band and it is a very important album for those who love music with the bass featured very prominently. Great stuff, fun music, and very original. Primus would go on to influence many future bands in return. They took their influences and turned it into their own sound and tipped heavy metal music (or at least heavy rock music) upside-down. Essential!

Report this review (#1388140)
Posted Thursday, March 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars PRIMUS is one of the many eccentric bands to come from San Francisco, only no flower children here. A product of the demented imagination of founder Les Claypool, PRIMUS managed right from the start to forge their own musical style that kinda fits in here and there in the different genres, but when it really comes down to it, doesn't fit anywhere! They are certainly alternative funk metal but they are equally quirky in how they are experimental and progressive at the same time without really taking you into the seas of inaccessibility.

FIZZLE FRY is their very first studio album after their first round of quirkiness of releasing their live 'Suck On This' as their debut, which included a whole bunch of tracks that would end up on their studio albums. Together with Jane's Addiction, PRIMUS introduced the world to the wonderful world of alternative metal that would usher in the 90s and dethrone the glam scene and replace it with grunge, groove and nu metal and indie rock.

FIZZLE FRY has a lot of sizzling hot smoking alternative guitar riffs accompanied by Claypool's unique signature bass style and hardcore drumming action. While PRIMUS is primarily considered to be Claypool's baby, it should also be noted that after the debut guitarist Todd Huth left the band to focus more on his family, Larry LaLonde (previously from the death metal band Possessed) joined the party and never went away. He has been just as a consistent ingredient in the band's sound as Claypool's on their studio albums anyways.

PRIMUS has experienced the same problem as Spinal Tap in that their weakest link has been retaining a permanent drummer as since their inception in 1984 as a band has gone through seven drummers who have mostly gone but some came back only to go again. On this one we get Tim Alexander who performs the duties quite exemplarily. As far as i know none have spontaneously self-combusted in bizarre gardening accidents though.

I personally think FRIZZLE FRY is my favorite PRIMUS album. While it fully displays the idiosyncrasies of Claypool, it doesn't feel like he has the upper hand quite yet. The songs are all diverse and the energy is high. There seems to be more guitar action and less bass dominance. In short, the songs are balanced and quite creative. The goofiness is peeking around the corner but there is a more serious approach on album number one.

God forbid, there are even rip roaring guitar solos as on the title track and 'Spaghetti Western.' The album simply delivers a satisfying smorgasbord of juicy ideas. There were two singles from this one: 'John The Fisherman' and 'Too Many Puppies,' the latter of which expressed a very punk attitude and anti-war sentiment where the puppies represent the victimized soldiers in the rotisserie of wars that destroy far too many young lives before their time.

Les Claypool and posse perfectly meld all their influences together well in this PRIMUS debut. They range from The Residents to Rush with a heavy dose of Zappa-esque humor and some sort of alternative country feel as well. Claypool himself has stated that their music is a kind of psychedelic polka but i'm not really feeling that myself. This is alternative funk metal run amok and i have to admit that even though it took a while for PRIMUS' sound to grow on me, i have to say that once it incubated a while, it sprouted new brain sucking properties in me and now i have succumbed to its quirky charm. FRIZZLE FRY has qualities that can appeal to thrash metal lovers, funk extremists, alternative junkies and those who just like eccentric high energy music that drifts in different directions but never quite goes to the same pastures where the other herds of musical cows are grazing. It is semi-comedic, sort of bizarre but never takes you so far away into someone else's dreamland that you can't get the gist of it. Oh, and that bass! 4.5 rounded UP!

Report this review (#1442892)
Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Residents fan Les Claypool and his cohorts unleash their twisted funk metal style on an unsuspecting musical world on this debut album. Claypool's bizarre vocal style is a "love it or hate it" sort of thing, but if you can at least tolerate it you'll find a weirdly intricate bass-heavy album which somehow manages to be oddly catchy despite how downright weird it is. Primus are the sort of band where a little of their work goes a long way, but on balance I would say that this release has a slight edge over the subsequent Sailing the Seas of Cheese, perhaps because it feels a bit more fresh and wild about the edges.
Report this review (#1610959)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars It would be an absolute understatement to say that Primus is an acquired taste. Their music is incredibly obscure, with some of the most random musical passages and the most quirky lyrics you could think of. And so it is, that their debut album is a convoluted mess of ideas thrown together with no real sense of direction, other than being random for random's sake.

While the musical ability between all the members is of a high calibre, especially bassist, singer and all-round main man Les Claypool (story goes that he was once turned down to join Metallica for being "too good"), the general compositions seem rather unfocused and boring. Nothing really stands out in this 52-minute smorgasbord of random guitar riffs and vocal melodies, which usually are delivered via something more akin to talking or just completely random noises.

If I really had to pick out any notable highlights, 'John the Fisherman', 'Too Many Puppies' and 'To Defy the Laws of Tradition' could be considered alright, but honestly, this album as a whole just gets rather boring and repetitive fast. I'm sure there are people that love songs that randomly go into renditions of 'Humpty Dumpty', but to me, it's just not cool, it's not funny, and it's not really all that clever either.

Report this review (#1785349)
Posted Thursday, September 21, 2017 | Review Permalink

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