Primus' first studio album wouldn't necessarily be a surprise to anyone familiar with their Suck on This days, not least because a good chunk of that album ended up being represented here. Not that this was surprising, but what was pleasant was how well and easily the at-once frenetic and extremely precise way the trio had around its spastic rhythms, translated into a great effort away from the stage. Certainly the fact that Les Claypool had once tried out for Metallica was clear enough with the doomy metal opening of "To Defy the Laws of Tradition," but once Claypool started singing about brides choosing colors other than white for marriages, the band's own world came to the fore. It's pretty easy to see in retrospect how much of a melange went into the group's work. Nods but thankfully few outright steals to everything from Frank Zappa's arch humor and Funkadelic's sprawl to the Police's early, spare effectiveness crop up and, indeed, so does plenty of Metallica (the title track's extreme climax in particular). But whether it's due to Claypool's reedy, whacked-out voice or the fact that just about every song seems like it could be a soundtrack to a moshpit gone wild, something about Frizzle Fry is ultimately and perfectly of its time and place. The tightly wired and wound lope of "John the Fisherman" probably remains the most concentrated blast of them all, but nods should also go to the grinding march/stomp "Too Many Puppies," with its wry and worried vision of an overcrowded future, and the equally slow death crunch of "The Toys Go Winding Down." Then there's the already established live fave "Pudding Time," which is one of the goofiest anti-celebrations of consumer culture around; and all the better for it.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
feat: Matthew Winegar