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