I received Prime Sinister’s debut album back in 2008 in a nice DVD case presentation box to boot. The French band impressed with a mix of styles that bordered on an eclectic range from doom, stoner, industrial, groove metal and plenty of bits in between. I knew their name as they are loosely connected with the friends and family of Hawkwind and have supported the band on tour, something that continues to this day although I have never managed to catch them live. That was pretty much the end of things until this new album turned up although I notice that they did release another in between called ‘Wish Me Hell’ in 2010. Naturally I was keen to find out how they have progressed since our paths last crossed.
Apart from guitarist / vocalist Pills the trio have changed since 2013 although musically things have not a great amount and they continue to mix things up and stylistically twist and turn. The group have gone down a very bold route and start the album with a whopping 20 minute number ‘The Blackest Movie’ which you really do need to sit back in a comfortable seat to experience as though you are going to watch a blockbuster itself. Judging by cover art and theme it seems all rather post-apocalyptic so I have no problems doing just that. Bluesy notes take us in and things lumber along with some classic boogie guitar lines, its slow and smokin’ stuff with a real stoner, classic rock vibe about it emphasised more when the grizzled vocals (a distinct touch of Lemmy about them) join in. To be fair it’s a song that could easily be cut down length wise but the band are happy to just plod along and if you are in the mood you will be cool to indulge them. There are times that it strikes me melody wise of Ace Of Spades slowed down on serious valium and I guess that sense of familiarity adds to it all. There’s plenty of time for some neat slothful guitar parts to unspool during this one and live I can see it destroying people in a haze of pot smoke.
After this we move onto an album’s worth running-wise of much shorter numbers such as ‘I Can’t Change’ which hints back to the older more industrial ways of the band with a bit of a White Zombie beat and bombast about it. There are lots of big thick riffs about it and its obvious they like getting the guitar hooks into things and can do it well. A bit of muffled harmonica has them starting to groove on down with ‘Blood Red Blues’ a title that gives a good indication of what to expect as they get their jam on and take things into a rugged and memorable chorus part. At times the guitar playing really reminds of the late great Huw Lloyd Langton and it’s easy to see why both Hawkwind the band and their fans will find common ground with Prime Sinister. Faster rockers like ‘The End Is On’ have a touch of Prong about them with some jagged riffs and an insistent vocal repetition although again perhaps they extend this one a bit too long for comfort. ‘Prime Cut’ is an odd interlude with an elephant trumpeting and samples I should recognise but can’t quite make out before ‘The God’s Failure’ belts in and gives you a good slap round the chops with some solid and powerful bass thick grooves that allow some head banging action. There’s some flamboyant solo action here that wouldn’t be out of place on a Devin Townsend track as well.
The mix of styles keeps you on your toes over the lengthy running time. ‘Hellone’ reminds a little of Monster Magnet and when we get to the end it’s with a somewhat predictable sounding but perfectly adequate cover of Killing Joke classic The Wait. Prime Sinister’s blackest movie may not have kept me on the edge of my seat throughout but there’s plenty here to engage listeners and have them coming back for more.
(7/10 Pete Woods)