Skid Row: Subhuman Race (2021 Reissue)

 

Part 4 of Skid Row The Atlantic Years (1989-1996)

I wonder what was going through the minds of the five guys in Skid Row when “Subhuman Race” hit the streets in March 1995.

My point being that one year earlier in March 1994 Motley Crue released there self titled album with a new singer in tow (John Corabi) with a sound that wasn’t what was normal from the Crue.

A different sound, one that reflected the musical climate at the time.

The comparisons between the Crue and Skid Row albums are so similar its scary.

Same producer (Bob Rock) and studio (Little Mountain Sound) as well as  huge shift in sound in both bands camps which resulted in both records only hitting “Gold” status.

Hitting Gold for both these bands back in 94/95 was a failure yet if this was the case in 2022 this would be huge news as not too many rock acts get certified anymore.

Yet over time both records to my ears have aged well.

Kinda weird that the Skidders themselves have distanced themselves from this record and I have no idea why. They all have laid blame on being fried out with each other while blaming Bob Rock as well as the record company wanting product.

Safe to say that when you are at one level of success and the wheels come off the career and it starts going downhill thats when the finger pointing starts.

But to be fair at the time  it had been almost four years since the “Slave To The Grind” release and a lot had changed in that time as Kurt Cobain and his Tattered Cardigan had a hand in snuffing out a genre for a good few years (maybe a decade when you really think about it) but these bands like Skid Row kept going as they still had there deal with Atlantic Records.

At various times throughout this record I can hear elements of Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and STP musically on here. That was what was current back in the mid ’90s.

13 tracks make up “Subhuman Race”. Opener “My Enemy” is a killer opening track which within 10 seconds you hear that Skid Row ’96 is not Skid Row ’89.

I have already mentioned in my other reviews of Skid Row that these guys could play and “My Enemy” proves that point. Listen to that tempo change when the guitar solo kicks in. Rachel Bolan’s Bass tone is mega on this track (and how about that Geezer like fuzz bass that leads off “Beat Yourself Blind”) and throughout. Great player/songwriter he is along with Sabo.

Lyrically Bolan and Snake just six years earlier (’89) were writing lyrics like “Rattlesnake Shake”,

“Juicy Miss Lucy always diggin’ on junk
She’s on the corner talkin’ trash with the punks
Her buried treasure is so easy to see
‘Cause talk is cheap and so is she”

But by ’96 those kind of fun words were replaced by some more serious lyrics like  the title track “Subhuman Race” has…

“Jesus knows my story, he knows the position that I’m in
A hooker knows the feeling to get fucked the way I’ve been
Turn my insides out; your mouth drank my water”

Whoa. From Juicy Miss Lucy to Jesus and a Hooker as the boys were not worried about radio or video play by this point.

Lot’s of great stuff on here. “Iron Will”, “Eileen”, “Bonehead” the list goes on as I can listen to this album all the way through.

One track though which is perhaps my favourite song is “Breaking Down” which is a Sabo only composition. This tune is truly epic in every sense as Bach throws down an excellent vocal while the chorus is Gold. As my pal Geoff Stephen knows this is an end of the album GEM! Don’t want to say ballad but how about a mid tempo track.

I can honestly say that this album is a great no compromise like spin so why the Skid guys diss this one who knows but for many (myself included) like the Crue ’94 release “Subhuman Race” features some of the bands best work.

deKe’s 2022 score of Subhuman Race: 8.5/10

 

 

27 thoughts on “Skid Row: Subhuman Race (2021 Reissue)”

  1. I watched an episode of The Contrarians titled, “What is a Contrarian album you would defend to your last dying breath?” Somebody mentioned ‘Subhuman Race’ and I’ve wanted it ever since. I just wish I could remember when I watched that video lol. I just bought the CD at a record store in town for $6 this past Saturday. I’ve listened to it twice so far and I really like it. “Beat Yourself Blind” is my favorite track on the album, even thought Bach goes a bit screamo on the chorus. I think the reason why the band sh*ts on this record so much is because it wasn’t a hit. Great review, Deke!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah, it’s fine! It’s my fault for not looking up what the song is about. I just enjoy the music, lol!

        Huh, never heard of that saying before. But that’s probably cause I’m too young to know about it or I’m just completely oblivious.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess you’re right!

        Those are good songs. Though, I don’t understand the weird ending for “Iron Will,” where it goes on for an extra two minutes of nothing till the last 30 seconds or something.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, that’s what they used to do in the 90s — the hidden bonus music. If you listen, that ending bit is a demo to “Bonehead”. You can hear Bach singing the lyric “if you’re a new god let me see a miracle”.

        Very common in the 90s. What I do, is I edit out the blank space when I rip the CD to my computer. Makes life easier trust me. There were a lot of those kind of “bonus tracks”.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I wonder if that “hidden bonus track” is on the vinyl. Deke?

        Lana I think it was more the novelty of the CD format. You should see some of the gimmicks attempted in those days. Nine Inch Nails have a CD with 99 tracks. 1,2,3,4,5,6,98, and 99 and music. The rest are 3 seconds of silence. ANNOYING! Especially when you listen to a CD on shuffle.

        Blind Melon had a CD with a bonus track hidden before the beginning of the CD! You had to hit play, and then rewind -3:00! I swear to god!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Hahah another great example! That was yet another unique way to do it.

        I remember when the Ozzy album No Rest For the Wicked came out. The song “Hero” was unlisted. But we usually let our tapes play out to the end. So suddenly this awesome song came on, one of the best on the album album! And we had NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS CALLED! Or if it had a name at all!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah, that’s another reason why ‘Made in Heaven’ is Queen’s worst album lol!

        Huh, interesting! But yeah, those hidden tracks are just cruel and a pain in the butt.

        Like

  2. I love Subhuman Race. I think it’s just as good as the others. Lyrics are whack on some of these songs. Must have been a lot of drugs on this album.

    Meet my neighbor’s widow, a black and
    Bluedoe, she’s up a tree
    Trip, the lightning spastic
    Captain Fantastic. The nineteen seventies

    Like

  3. Aw, the poor boys only went Gold. LOL! I know it wasn’t what it was but success is success, man! He hee. You know, I think it was Mike that recommended this album to me, and I still go back to it. Great idea to compare it to the Crüe as you nailed it! Crank it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very underrated album and it also has a decent Pantera groove Metal influence here as well.

    My favourite is Into Another, very Rush like but I also dig Breakin Down as well.

    From what I’ve read, they are distancing themselves from it because it was an album that Bach wanted to make and alit of unkind words were said during the making of it and then when it didn’t set the charts in fire, a lot more unkind words got said.

    Like

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