Shrinebuilder; Outlaw Order; Lazarus Blackstar; Pigs; Stormtroopers of Death; Cream; Emerson Lake and Palmer; Wings. All of these outfits were formed by musicians who were already well known from other previous or existing bands. Primate are exactly one of those Frankenstein supergroup experiments; being constituted from various toxic and gory bits of Brutal Truth and Mastodon. And there’s nothing more gory than Cowboy-hatted drug-hoover Kevin Sharpe, who is all over this mini-blast of an album like a hot viral rash from swampland.
There are ten short and furious breakneck tracks on offer here – the malice starts straight away with the ballistic headkick of ‘Draw Back A Stump’ – an excellent mutation of prime Dead Kennedys chaos and the not-so-grindcore/more punk bits of Brutal Truth. ‘Global Division’ continues the hurtling HC punk panic, complete with a slick little guitar solo that whines and whinnies like a tiny metal horse. ‘Hellbound!’ roar the band in unison on third track ‘Hellbound’ (no surprise there then), as it gallops out the speakers like a bigger metal horse, with gun turrets mounted on it’s head and steam jetting out it’s arse. ‘Silence of Violence’ again sounds a bit like classic Dead Kennedys, carried on high by an East Bay Ray-style diddly surf guitar bit, albeit smeared all over with Kev Sharpe’s hoarse whiskey rasp instead of Jello’s sardonic leer.
What’s this now? It’s bloody ‘Drinking and Driving’ by Black Flag. But it’s by Primate instead (I believe it’s called a cover version). This is cheating though – how can one fail with this kind of material? ‘March of the Curmudgeon’ cracks in with tasty drumming and fuzzed-out bass and then launches into a kind of lilting flamenco-hardcore spazzout. Sharpe seems at his best here with his gorgeous and teetering on the edge of knackered ten-joints-a-day throat. ‘Wasted Youth’ is a semi-parodic Agnostic Front-brawling-with-Nuclear Assault-in-the-streets romp that guns along on vicious buzzsaw guitar, whilst ‘Pride’ and ‘Get The Fuck Off My Lawn’ continue the classic stateside punk vibe (muscular, full-pelt and stinking of the litter strewn streets of early eighties Brooklyn). The closing smash-up sounds to me like a 70 second genetic breakdown of both ‘Bomber Zee’ by Agnostic Front and ‘Sold Out’ by Doom.
Overall conclusion – it’s not new and it’s probably going nowhere but ‘Draw Back A Stump’ is very well done, very well recorded and very dig-able if you want a trip back through some of the hottest hardcore moments of the eighties and early nineties. I don’t love it, but I do like it. I do love the retro-DIY Crass-font cover though. And there’s the sting – is this just playing with the past? Is this just a nostalgic rehash repackaged and resold? Now discuss the following statement: “The political and social context of late 20th century hardcore punk is now, in the early 21st century, reduced to a cynical exercise in style over substance. Are albums like ‘Draw Back A Stump’ by Primate merely a hollow postmodern simulation of the once authentic voice of youthful alienation in Western capitalist society?” 3000 words – on my desk by next Friday at the latest.
Scribed by: Adam Stone