11 October 2018

Review: A Primitive Evolution – Becoming

A Primitive Evolution. (A.P.E.) are a new name for me, though it seems these Canadians have been active since 2007. It further seems that they take their time with their releases, with the new album ‘Becoming’ being their third release, and the first on Metropolis Records.

‘Becoming’ is a solid release, warm and meaty sounding production serves the finely crated songs well, and it should appeal to listeners of dark alternative rock, which here is laced with electronic elements too. A Primitive Evolution are a band who have had a decade to concrete their sound, so in essence they have their vision clearly embedded in their sound, a vision that is emotive, passionate and at times uplifting, yet shot through with darker veins. If you need reference points, they have the depth of composition you’d expect from A Perfect Circle, the ballsy clout you’d get from Filter or Stabbing Westward/The Dreaming, and the soulful beauty of Radiohead and the more rock leaning Muse.

I’ve already mentioned the solidity of the album, a broody intro leads into a weighty ‘Who’s Your Maker’, riffs and slabs of hefty heaviness. Follow on track ‘The Beauty’ is when we get a sense of the album’s identity as the vocals start to soar cleverly, weaving harmonies around the the structure of the song. By ‘Close Your Eyes’ my attention is more certainly grabbed, a minor key earworm to haunt your dreams, how I imagine Mansun would have sounded if they had made a heavy album. As I travel further into the album it feels like APE are playing to their strengths, with those strengths lying in the soulful melodic interplay between the soaring vocal and the accomplished chord progression and rhythmic flourishes. ‘Ghost’ uses all of these tricks, instantly listenable but also enough depth to reward repeated listens. ‘Dead Skies’ will feel somewhat familiar to Tool aficionados though also retaining that APE feel, balancing deft and heaviness. Keeping things interesting ‘We Are The Truth’ rides on a 4/4 beat giving it a dark pop sensibility, before we are thrust back into industrial rock domains with with the title track, underling the bands proficiency with pacing and dynamic. ‘Skeleton’ is another highlight, progressive instrumentation wrapping the vocals in warm sonic timbres, very pleasing. The charmingly titled ‘Picturesque Hell’ doesn’t let up, not letting attention waver despite the albums slightly longer than average run time of about an hour. Penultimate song ‘Live Forever’ has a lingering build up and perhaps doesn’t shine in the same way as its preceding tracks but only by a gnats whisker. Our journey closes with ‘Echo’, which fires out riffery emblazoned with hooks and establishes the fact that the album is going to burn out,rather than fade away.

In a nutshell, ‘Becoming’ is an album of highlights and higherlights, and hardly a dull moment to be had. Fans of A Perfect Circle, Filter, Muse and so on, are advised to pay A Primitive Evolution a visit.

3.5/5

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