Primal Rock Rebellion - 'Awoken Broken' (Spinefarm Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Matt Phelps   
Monday, 27 February 2012 05:00

primalrockrebellionPrimal Rock Rebellion are a band of two halves. Fifty percent Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) and fifty percent Mikee Goodman (SikTh). The unlikely pair have created a 12 track monster of an album in 'Awoken Broken' that is a ferocious cross breed of furious styles.


Opening track 'No Friendly Neighbour' shakes it psychotic head to a twisted beat and with this first taste it's clear that Primal Rock Rebellion is a radically different beast to Iron Maiden which is what most people will be comparing it to because of Adrian's involvement. But it should be different otherwise what's the point? Absent are galloping basslines, replaced instead by steady pounding with Adrian handling all the bass parts as well as lead and rhythm guitars. The guitars themselves are crisp and sharp and cut with just the slightest hint of dirt on the edge of their glinting strings. Ravaging.

The production that brings this collaboration to raging life was handled by both Adrian and Mikee, plus there are some striking backing vocals on four of the tracks from Sanguine's Tarin Kerrey adding yet another dimension to the already eclectic mix of styles. Lead single and video track 'No Place Like Home' swings into a second place with a bombastic chorus that positively grooves its way between the frantically riffed verses, Goodman blending alternative flavour into Smith's old school writing approach, big chorus meets aggressive attack of verse. The tones on the guitars both riff wise and solo sections just reel you in with Adrian's bluesy swell complimenting the overall direction of the album in a most unexpected way. 'I See Lights' slows to a dirtier sounding almost sadistic groove with a bassline that would make Fieldy proud.


'Bright As A Fire' leans more towards haunting melody as the atmospheric build up beckons you into a swirling pool of sound and the drums, that are laid down throughout the album by former SikTh sticksman Dan Foord, are hard, direct and impulsive. Again you're caught out with track 5, 'Savage World'. During its first few seconds it sounds like it's going to be the most straight forward rock track so far but it suddenly lurches into an erratic yet disciplined assault on the senses. 'Tortured Tone' is almost smooth by comparison. A melody and delicate intro mixed with Goodman's smoky voice that reminds me of some of Everlast's more tender moments. Of course the volume soon builds back up and brings 'Tortured Tone' racing to the fore as contender for the album's best track.


'White Sheet Robes' as track 7 of 12 starts what is essentially side 2 for us old schoolers and even at this point over half way through the album and with the end in sight I'm still genuinely amazed by the prodution on each track. It really does sound alive, bristling with the electricity of enthusiastic creativity. 'As Tears Come Falling' is the demented cousin from the attic. A 47 second psycho blast of twisted spoken word that leads, short fuse like, directly to the explosive riffing and burning basslines of the album's title track, 'Awoken Broken'. 'Snake Ladders' slides down to the dirty level of smouldering ash, the soundtrack to doomsday has just been found. There's no single steady characteristic to Mikee's vocals throughout 'Awoken Broken', he jumps from smooth tones to snarling growls with an edge of eccentricity mixing the palette to deliver a shade that touches on the wild side of Jonathan Davis with occasional dark and disturbed flourishes of Mike Patton. 'Mirror And The Moon' closes the album with a subtle acoustic lacing wound through the body of the piece and gives an ambience that plays out like it's Smith and Goodman's farewell gift to the listener, the chance to get your breath back.


Overall I was massively impressed. When artists dabble outside of the zones they've made their name in into areas of experimentation the results are usually quite shit. But while 'Awoken Broken' is certainly experimental it's free from the self indulgence and self importance that has led so many others to try and fail so spectacularly. Adrian and Mikee have crafted a genuinely intriguing and exciting album that is the sound of two creative forces bouncing off each other, even melding together, to form something really quite special. Mixing their differing styles together in a melting pot that actually rocks 'Awoken Broken' is undeniably modern, ahead of it's time yet still ultimately primal at heart.


For the vinyl junkies that still reside in our number 'Awoken Broken' is available as a deluxe gatefold coloured 2LP set, plus there's also a limited coloured 10 inch of the 'No Place Like Home' single available and both can be ordered from What Records


To pick up a copy of 'Awoken Broken' - Click Here