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PRIMUS

Prog Related • United States


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Primus biography
Founded in California, USA in 1984 (as "Primate") - Several hiatuses between 2000-2008 - Reformed since 2010

PRIMUS is the creation of LES CLAYPOOL. PRIMUS is almost impossible to classify into a genre, considering Les' influences and their deep manic style of playing. LES CLAYPOOL is a huge fan of RUSH, and influenced by the likes of PETER GABRIEL and THE RESIDENTS. Les is an extremely inventive and influential bass player, very influenced by STANLEY CLARKE, CHRIS SQUIRE, and GEDDY LEE. In 1986 Les created a band called Primate featuring him, Todd Huth and Jay Lane. Playing an incredibly funky artsy rock, Primate's songs told quirky stories set to extended instrumental improvisations and switching time signatures, similar to that of FRANK ZAPPA. Soon changing their name to PRIMUS, Huth and Lane were later replaced by LARRY LALONDE, guitarist of death metal band Possessed and drummer TIM "HERB" ALEXANDER. Becoming even more complex and creating a well-known art-funk style, PRIMUS soon sold many records despite their oddity prog style. Their musical interplay was very much admired, and soon became legendary on the rock circuit for songs like "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver" and "My Name Is Mud". PRIMUS is also known for being a silly RUSH, due to them being a power trio with a bass player singing. LES' songs are usually messages hidden in stories, or flat-out anecdotes from the past set to art-funk. Around 1997, TIM ALEXANDER decided to leave the band for other projects, and Les picked up drummer BRIAN MANTIA, BUCKETHEAD drummer and old friend. After the successful "Antipop" album, TIM ALEXANDER joined the band for the new 2003 album "Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People", being a DVD collection with 5 new songs, PRIMUS at their proggiest, their new direction is even more spaced-out and jammy, something like a heavy PHISH.

Their most known albums would be "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" and "Pork Soda", both of them proggy funk tour de forces.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Uncategorizable prog band with a signature sound, heavily prog-influenced and they show it in their playing. A truly unique art rock unit.

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PRIMUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PRIMUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 151 ratings
Frizzle Fry
1990
3.99 | 178 ratings
Sailing the Seas of Cheese
1991
3.32 | 121 ratings
Pork Soda
1993
3.93 | 114 ratings
Tales From The Punchbowl
1995
3.18 | 84 ratings
The Brown Album
1997
3.56 | 90 ratings
Antipop
1999
3.83 | 70 ratings
Green Naugahyde
2011
3.39 | 37 ratings
Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble
2014
4.02 | 36 ratings
The Desaturating Seven
2017

PRIMUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.51 | 46 ratings
Suck on This
1989

PRIMUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 27 ratings
Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People
2003
4.04 | 18 ratings
Hallucino-Genetics: Live 2004
2004
4.71 | 8 ratings
Blame It On The Fish
2006

PRIMUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.81 | 18 ratings
They Can't All Be Zingers
2006

PRIMUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
Here Come The Bastards / American Life
1991
5.00 | 2 ratings
My Name Is Mud
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
My Name Is Mud (Promo CD)
1992
4.00 | 1 ratings
Making Plans For Nigel
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Making Plans For Nigel (Cheesy EP 1)
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Making Plans For Nigel (Cheesy EP 2)
1992
2.51 | 25 ratings
Miscellaneous Debris
1992
3.29 | 41 ratings
Rhinoplasty
1998
3.74 | 25 ratings
Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People
2003
3.07 | 9 ratings
June 2010 Rehearsal
2010

PRIMUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sailing the Seas of Cheese by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.99 | 178 ratings

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Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Primus Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Sure, a lot of people will go around saying that Primus isn't a full fledged progressive band, and it is true. However, they definitely had some progressive tracks, they have influenced progressive bands and they are important to the genre in general. There is no doubt that leader Les Claypool is a progressive artist and many of his other projects and solo albums are correctly listed as Eclectic. It is apparent in his music that he is influenced by the music of The Residents, King Crimson and Pink Floyd. But he puts a huge twist on these influences drenching it in quirkiness, bass and crazy guitar making it his own. That influence carries over to Primus which uses a more direct tie to hard rock and heavy metal with the progressive traits being less apparent, yet they still appear.

Primus' 2nd official studio release "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" was an important album for the band in that it catapulted the band onto the world stage the help of the supporting singles "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and "Tommy the Cat". What made it stand out above other rock acts? The fact that it is so quirky, unhinged and off the wall, plus the fact that the three members, Claypool, Larry LaLonde and Tim Alexander are amazing musicians and compliment each other so well. This album was also very important for me too in that it helped me realize that I have this crazy attraction to quirky and eclectic music. I fell in love with the singles that were being played mostly on the alternative radio station the first time I hear them. In fact, "Tommy the Cat" is where my on-line name comes from and I have used it for almost 30 years now. I still love these singles, even after they have received so much air play. It was these singles that made me want to buy the album in the first place.

Of course, the album didn't let me down, I loved it the first time I played it. The 2nd side took a little more time to grow on me, but now I love it all. If you want to discover Primus' music for yourself, this is the perfect place to start. It is quite consistent with quirky, heavy and wild music all the way through. The short snippets are quite humorous, the regular tracks are all "zingers", which is not something you can't say for many albums. There is no point in analyzing each and every track, but they are all excellent and heavy, zany and have all aged quite well.

It's funny how listening to this album now, it seems almost normal to be listening to music like this, but in 1991, there just wasn't anything else like this in the mainstream. Primus was unintentionally being an influential band, but you just can't ignore the fact that it sounds like they were just having a good time. When you listen to songs like "Eleven" with its 11/8 meter, "Sgt' Baker" with its unhinged vocal delivery, or the multi-faceted and hard driving (mostly) blues masterpiece "Fish On", you just know these guys were not just having fun, but they were geniuses at work, and this album is just loaded with examples of genius.

Yes, I might be rating this album high in the opinion of so many critics, but to me this is an essential album and always will be. I feel there is always enough progressive music in Primus' tracks and albums for them to be considered progressive. I mean, look at Alan Parsons Project for example. Only one of their albums is truly, completely progressive and after that, the progressive trait appears only from time to time. Primus is definitely more progressive than that and if one of them is considered prog, then they both should be. So, I can easily justify giving this album 5 stars, and it deserves it.

 The Desaturating Seven by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 36 ratings

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The Desaturating Seven
Primus Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars In 2017, Primus released its ninth studio album, which saw the classic, and most famous, of their line-ups return once again; Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde and Tim Alexander. "The Desaturating Seven" is that album and it is the 2nd in a row based upon a children's story, the previous one being "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", which saw the band doing their take on the songs from the original movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". This time, the book that the album has taken inspiration from is "The Rainbow Goblin" by Italian author Ul de Rico. Also, this time, all of the songs on the album are original, written by Claypool.

Claypool felt that the story would make for an interesting concept album. It is a book that he used to read to his children when they were younger. The story is about 7 goblins that suck the colors out of rainbows in a greedy manner. The album features 7 tracks and is also the shortest of all of the Primus albums at only just under 35 minutes. It is also considered the most progressive of all of Primus' albums. The first track "The Valley" features the spoken word vocals of guest Justin Chancellor, who plays the part of the goblin master on the first track. After the narration, the music plunks along ominously, and Claypools treated vocals keep the music eerie, yet whimsical. This track is a bit more minimal than most of their music.

"The Seven" has more of the signature sound of Primus, especially that of Claypools vocals, stylistic bass playing, LeLonde's chunky and entertaining guitars and Alexander's drums that match the sound so perfectly. However, just like all of Primus' albums, this one requires more than just the attitude of "sitting back and listening" as the music is much more immersive than that, with the weird narration and lyrics, delivered with that same smirk of sarcasm as always. The real center of attention is the track that introduces the seven gnomes, "The Trek". The real barn burner here, however, is the mostly instrumental track "The Storm" that features the boiling bass and the percussive plucking of the guitar which later develops into an exciting progressive tour-de-force.

Where most of this album isn't quite as funky-metal as their other albums, it still has enough here to make the fans happy. This one is more carefree, but also more narrative, where the lyrics and the story are more important, and the music is adjusted to a more progressive feel to match the narrative frame of the lyrics. So you will notice more meter and tempo changes in this album than you might have noticed before. But there is still no doubt that this is Primus, they are not trying to be someone else here, but at the same time, they are not trying to copy past albums like "Seas of Cheese" or "Tales from the Punchbowl". If anything, the music approaches "Discipline" era King Crimson more than The Residents like some of their older albums, but again, with Primus' unique spin on everything.

The album is pretty much everything a Primus fan could want, including myself. Silly, sarcastic, musically interesting and complex, and requiring the unique talent of these great musicians. The biggest complaint I have is that it is so short and over so quickly. It leaves you with that disappointment, that it just needed to have something more to it. If this album was paired as a double with "Primus and the Chocolate Factory", then it would have been a perfect 5 star album. Unfortunately, as it is, it only gets a 4 star rating, but that doesn't mean that it should be ignored. It's still the Primus that you have grown to know and despise, but in a loving way.

 Tales From The Punchbowl by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.93 | 114 ratings

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Tales From The Punchbowl
Primus Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars 'Tales from the Punchbowl' is the fourth full length studio album from Primus and the last of the 4 great album run they had. This is also the last album to have Tim Alexander on drums until 7 years later when he rejoined the band. Said by many critics and fans alike, this is one of the band's best albums with some great vintage Primus cuts that are essential for all Primus fans.

Where the previous album 'Pork Soda' was dark and heavy, this album has more of a variety making it more enjoyable to listen to from start to finish, much more along the lines of 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese'. The happiness of the album is apparent from the beginning as soon as the fairground music starts at the beginning of 'Professor Nutbutter's House of Treats' and the upbeat sounds of the crazy quirkiness of Primus' music, not the morose heaviness of the previous album, but with all the punch of wild guitar, bass and drums along with some variation in the overall tone so you are not just getting bogged down with the thick sound all of the time. And, at over 7 minutes, this track has plenty of room to breathe with a long instrumental explosion of swirling guitar.

The mid tempo quirkiness shows through on 'Mrs. Blaileen' and then the hilarious hijinx of the very fast tempo and toe tapping 'Winona's Big Brown Beaver' that later turns into another whirlwind of unrelenting guitar, bass and drums. I don't know how this song just doesn't make everyone happy with its giddy chaotic feel. What else could follow this than the dark and mysterious and heavier 'Southbound Pachyderm'. Even with it's darker sound, it still moves along with a persistent rhythm and many outbursts of guitar which helps build its tension. It's one of my favorite Primus tracks. This is followed by 'Space Farm' a series of barnyard noises against a background of spacey effects and a churning bass, a silly filler material track.

'Year of the Parrot' is a little less memorable, but is a mid-tempo track that has a heavy industrial feel, Primus style. 'Hellbound 17 ' (Theme from)' has that more prehistoric, minimal feel with a pounding drum, plucked bass and guitar with a fast beat, and only a few vocals. It gets crazier as it goes racing along. 'Glass Sandwich' utilizes a quick strummed riff with quick notes later and bowed bass. The vocal melody and bass is more sustained and works well in contrast to the fast moving guitar and drums. 'Del Davis Tree Farm' has another great riff during the heavier chorus with the typical heavy bass and funky, chiming guitars with the complex drumming patterns. 'De Anza Jig' sounds like a polka with the bass sounding like a tuba and a banjo. Such a happy song with plenty of weirdness.

'On the Tweek Again' starts with a solid beat and Les' falsetto The screeching guitar comes in from time to time, but the first few verses is backed by the bass and thumping drum. 'Over the Electric Grapevine' is a great Primus rocker which will get the crowds a jumpin' at the concert with the percussive instrumental section. This ends with a reprise of 'De Anza Jig' under the guise of a track called 'Captain Shiner'

A lot of people think that Primus is weird, but it's their chaotic weirdness that makes them so wonderful. Of course they are inspired by The Residents and King Crimson among others, but they are also extremely talented and have made their style their own. I love their satirical take on everything, and then they surround it with a bare minimum of instruments, but create such a complex explosion of sound and style unlike anything else out there. Primus will always be one of my favorite bands, and for those that wonder, is precisely where I got my 'handle' from. People always ask me what TCat stands for, well, if you are a Primus fan, you should know, but most people just look at me blankly when I mention Primus. That's alright though because their music always makes me happy for whatever reason, mainly because I love their quirkiness and originality. And this is one of their best albums, so how can I not give it 5 stars.

 The Brown Album by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.18 | 84 ratings

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The Brown Album
Primus Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars The Brown Album was called this because it was supposed to be Primus' version of The White Album by The Beatles or The Black Album by Metallica, it was going to be a milestone, according to Claypool. Later, when asked how the album was going to sound, Brian "Brain" Mantia, the new drummer that replaced Tim Alexander, said that it was named The Brown Album because the mixes sounded like a "muffled turd". I tend to believe the last explanation as this album was intentionally mixed to sound muddier, less bright. They succeeded in that endeavor. Unfortunately, the songs sound more forced and tired. The humor and the basic sound is still there, it just seems like the heart was not in this album.

Out of the Primus albums, this is probably my least favorite. Of course, there are some great tracks like "Shake Hands With Beef", "Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread", "Golden Boy" and such, but there are a lot more mediocre, flat sounding tracks that just don't have the spark and spunk of the previous Primus. This album is not the one to listen to if you are hearing Primus the first time, you are better off getting "Frizzle Fry", "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" or "Tales from the Punchbowl". Some of the tracks from The Brown Album will grow on you, but most of them lack the amount of life needed to grow anymore from the murky muck of this album. But it's okay, Les Claypool is still one of my heroes.

 Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People by PRIMUS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.74 | 25 ratings

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Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People
Primus Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars After 8 years, the original line up of Primus got back together and in 2003, released an EP/DVD package. Les called this package a new EP of 5 new songs, which it is, where they also include a DVD of neat videos. The DVD, of course, ended up getting the credit for the release as being the main thing in this package. But to the true fans, the EP was the real treat. Imagine, 5 new songs with the original line up of Primus. This is also my highlight of the package, I could care less about the DVD.

So is the EP great then?

Is it worth buying the entire package for 5 songs?

Who are you and why are you asking me these questions and how did you hijack my review?

Let's just act like the above never happened shall we? The EP is the fun Primus back again, but it is also the jamming part of Primus too, not just the "play the song and get it over with" Primus. Primus pretty much takes off where they left off with an interest in doing the jamming thing ala "Grateful Dead'' and "Phish" style. But they also add that fun element back in, as proven in the tracks "Pitcher's Squad" and "Mary the Ice Cube". But they expand songs too, plus add in some really cool progressive elements in "The Last Superpower aka Rapscallion" and "My Friend Fats". These last two songs are the best part of the EP and together they make up over 14 minutes of this EP which is a little over half of it, at least to me they are the best part of it. The other tracks are great, but these 2 are both 5 star material. Overall, though, this ends up being a 4 star affair. I would have liked to have a few more tracks on there leaning more towards the progressive side, but I still think this one is worth looking up.

If you haven't heard a lot of Primus, this is a great introduction, and you don't have to sacrifice much as far as time goes because it is an EP. It will give you a good idea of what you will hear in their albums, some of which are definite 5 star material, like "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" and "...Punchbowl". I love this band, regardless, and personally think Les Claypool is a genius. Besides, many of his influences are the same as mine.

 Tales From The Punchbowl by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.93 | 114 ratings

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Tales From The Punchbowl
Primus Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

4 stars With their fourth album, 'Tales from the Punchbowl', Primus have finally managed to channel all their talent into something somewhat akin to a cohesive rock album. Taking their unusual style of offbeat, alternative funk rock and applying it in a more traditional rock setting, Primus have managed to produce a record that is more accessible to the mainstream public, without having to compromise their own distinct sound.

There's no other band that embodies the term "acquired taste" better than Primus, and even on a release that features some of the bands most radio-friendly material, there's plenty of their obscure (and somewhat self-indulgent) weirdness, that doesn't follow any type of traditional songwriting trait, and features an almost monotone spoken-word dialogue.

But yet, unlike previous albums, I seem to be able to tolerate it here. The odd music, the random, yet interesting lyrics, the humour... everything here just seems to work on some artistic level or another. It's like a car crash, an ugly mess but you just can't look away.

The highlights for me are 'Professor Nutbutters House of Treats', 'Mrs Blaileen', 'Southbound Pachyderm', 'Over the Electric Grapevine', and of course, the band's biggest hit, 'Wynona's Big Brown Beaver' (which is for me, like so many others, the song that introduced me to Primus). But the album flows so smoothly that even small, comedic, filler tracks such as 'Space Farm' and 'De Anza Jag' are infectious and notable in their own right.

As interesting as it is unique, Primus truly aren't to everyone's tastes (including my own), but 'Tales from the Punchbowl' is just a straight-up good album, and serves as a great starting point if you're new to the band.

 Sailing the Seas of Cheese by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.99 | 178 ratings

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Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Primus Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Not these guys again...

There was a time in my youth when I'd have loved the quirkiness of a band like Primus. With their obscure sense of humour and their blend of rock and funk, there's truly no other band like them. But what makes them so unique is also what pretty much puts so many people off of them.

And to put it bluntly, it's mostly boring self-indulgence.

While the musicians themselves are all incredibly talented, and certainly adept at thinking outside the box, the music itself is very hard to follow, and definitely requires the listener to be equally open-minded. There's very little singing, with vocalist Les Claypool preferring more of a spoken-word type of vocal style, and a lot of the music itself tends to plod along with no real melodies sticking out. As a whole, it's just a complete mess.

If I had to pick out some highlights, it'd have to be 'Tommy the Cat' and 'Jerry Was a Race Car Driver', most probably because these are the notable singles from the album, and while they do have some infectious grooves in the music, as per usual with this band, the spoken babble that is the lyrics kind of ruins them.

I'm sure there was a time when I loved this band, especially as I seem to recall asking for some of their albums as Christmas and Birthday presents in my early twenties. But I listen to 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese' now and it bores the life out of me. Primus really are in a league all of their own when it comes to "keeping an open mind", sadly, it's just not a very good one.

 Frizzle Fry by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.02 | 151 ratings

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Frizzle Fry
Primus Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

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.

 Frizzle Fry by PRIMUS album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.02 | 151 ratings

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Frizzle Fry
Primus Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
 They Can't All Be Zingers by PRIMUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.81 | 18 ratings

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They Can't All Be Zingers
Primus Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars And now for something completely different.

Primus are pretty long in the tooth, having been around for over 25 years, but if anyone is a classic prog lover that wants to checkout something more technical without being inundated by non stop double bass drumming and sludgy guitar, then give old Primus a try.

Why exactly Primus are listed in PA is a bit of a mystery to me, but they are a three piece group that knows their musical strengths and limitations and appear not to take themselves too seriously.

This "greatest hits" compilation features the band's most requested songs played in that they play in concert, especially Jerry Was A race Car Driver, MY Name Is Mud and Wynona's Big Brown Beaver. Propelled by Les Claypool's funk and finger slapped bass style that's surrounded by caustic atmospheric lead guitar from Larry LaBonde and stellar drum work from Tim Alexander, the music is generally a funk/tech mish-mash made more enjoyable by Claypool's corny but at the same time cleaver lyrics, along with "come on down to South Park" vocals. (Primus do the familiar theme song from the animated Comedy Central show.)

The only reason that I would recommend a compilation like this, spanning from 1990 to 2004, is that Primus have a sameness about their sound that never really deviates from album to album. Heavily influenced by RUSH, KC and Zappa, but never really sounding like any of them, or anyone else for that matter, They All Can't Be Zingers is a nice slice of technically proficient absurdness that's a tasty treat at times. A tasty treat that just might convert you to the band's maincourse of the numerous studio albums this 16 song compilation was culled from.

Thanks to Retrovertigo for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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