Skid Row: Subhuman Race [1995]

Released March 28, 1995
Recorded 1994
Genre Heavy metal
Length 56:39
Label Atlantic
Producer Bob Rock

Subhuman Race is the third full-length album by the New Jersey heavy metal band Skid Row. It was released on March 28, 1995, and shows the band moving from their original heavy metal sound to one more influenced by alternative metal, with hints of Anthrax, and Red Hot Chili Peppers[citation needed], while retaining the Guns N’ Roses-style[citation needed] hard rock aesthetic on which they based their sound. The album’s sonic range runs the gamut from the blazingly fast and aggressive “Bonehead” and title track, to chugging midtempo “Iron Will” to the saccharine “Firesign”. Subhuman Race is the last Skid Row album recorded with singer Sebastian Bach and drummer Rob Affuso.

Subhuman Race charted at #35 on the Billboard 200.[1] Despite obtaining gold status and receiving positive reviews, it was not as successful as the band’s first two albums. Certain tracks from the album were remixed for the bands compilation 40 Seasons: The Best of Skid Row, given more tender, slightly cleaner mixes to fit better with the other tracks. To promote Subhuman Race, Skid Row supported Van Halen on the North American tour.

Subhuman Race received mostly positive reviews. Allmusic‘s Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave it four stars out of five, and said that it saw the band “strip back their music to the basics” and was their “strongest and most vicious record to date.”[2] Rolling Stone gave it three stars, calling it “the freshest riffage since last year’s Soundgarden record” and also noting the “tight, hot guitar lines and radio hooks that burn themselves into your brain”.[3] Q gave it four stars praising both the guitars that “grumble and mutter more menacingly than ever” and Bach’s “awesome vocal pyrotechnics”, summarizing that “Skid Row has come up with an outright winner.”[4]

Subhuman Race has also been criticized by fans and critics, who call it Skid Row’s “worst album”. Bassist Rachel Bolan has made known his mixed feelings about Subhuman Race. In an interview in November 2006, Bolan stated: “That record was a nightmare. Internally the band had fallen apart but we were forced to go in and do another record and it was a nightmare with the recording, writing and producing. We worked with someone we had not worked with before after being so successful with Michael and we were used to the way he did things. I am not slighting Bob at all, he is a genius producer but it was bad timing. I did not have the greatest time, it was nobody’s fault, it was just the way things were. Also the record absolutely sucks.”

Track listing

  1. My Enemy” (Rob Affuso, Rachel Bolan, Scotti Hill) – 3:38
  2. “Firesign” (Sebastian Bach, Bolan, Hill, Dave Sabo) – 4:54
  3. “Bonehead” (Bolan, Sabo) – 2:16
  4. “Beat Yourself Blind” (Bach, Bolan, Hill, Snake) – 5:02
  5. “Eileen” (Affuso, Bach, Bolan, Snake) – 5:36
  6. “Remains to be Seen” (Bolan, Hill, Snake) – 3:34
  7. “Subhuman Race” (Bolan, Hill, Snake) – 2:40
  8. “Frozen” (Bolan, Snake) – 4:43
  9. Into Another” (Bolan, Snake) – 4:02
  10. “Face Against My Soul” (Affuso, Bach, Bolan, Snake) – 4:20
  11. “Medicine Jar” (Bolan, Hill, Snake) – 3:36
  12. Breakin’ Down” (Snake) – 4:30
  13. “Ironwill” (Affuso, Bolan, Hill, Snake) – 7:43
  14. Untitled hidden track – 0:40


1. My Enemy

[Affuso, Bolan, Hill]

Play the fence, one way you’re gonna fall
Sometimes I don’t know who you are at all
Your opinion is something that you’ve got inside
But I see the loyalty has up and died

Your skeletons
My skeletons
Life is only getting shorter

You can be my enemy and I don’t care
Keep throwin’ stones at yourself

Stories run in circles that have no end
I hit on luck, then you bum me out again
There’s a way that you keep the truth in check
Scratch the surface and treat it like a broken neck
Keep the peace when face to face with the scene
Got a hunch that ain’t what you really mean
Weather’s fair, does that change where you stand?
My back is turned and the knife is in your hand

Your genocide
My genocide
Life is only getting shorter

You can be my enemy and I don’t care
Keep throwin’ stones at yourself
You can be my enemy and I don’t care
You try too hard and I can tell

2. Firesign

[Bach, Bolan, Hill, Snake]

Sailing ships go through my mind
Past wreckage on the way
Glory seekers fall in line
Getting closer
Summer laugh, some will cry
What will summer bring!
Some will take her by the reins
And ride the suffering

On a carousel through my yesterdays
Doubt sees the obstacles
Faith sees the way
[Repeat 2x]

All the ways you kill me
They’ve begun to thrill me
Nothing there fulfills my firesign
Brotherhood betrayal,
Sabotage to no avail
Nothing there can kill my firesign

Beaten, burned , I’ll take the fall
And get up right in your face
Walk all over what I believe
But I’m still here, you disappear
Without a trace
No need to follow, no need to lead
No need to beg or borrow
I just need to be me
[Repeat Bridge 2x]

[Repeat Chorus 2x]

3. Bonehead

[Bolan, Snake]

Is there a problem? The laugh of the rich man
Has got you crying poor
Are you as heavy as hell in a handbag
Or just a virgin whore?
If the weight of the world is on your shoulders
Then carry it for a day
Do you cry for peace or peace of mind;
Is reality in the way?

Enter the martyr out through the in door
The savior has arrived?
Is all your anger force of habit
And keeping you alive?
An empty shotgun shooting your mouth off
Something’s on your mind
The cheap messiah of persecution
Is alive and doing fine

I won’t leave if you stay, I don’t buy what you say
If you’re a new God let me see a miracle
I won’t leave if you stay, I don’t buy what you say
I can’t say that you’re a fool,
but if you’re a new God let me see a miracle.

4. Beat Yourself Blind

[Bach, Bolan, Hill, Snake]

Give me a minute ’cause I’m wrapped in superstition
Pour me a chemical to take away the edge
Don’t make up anything that’s breaking all your fingers
Just slap around a bit of what it takes to pledge

Carry out another stone as a slave
Ask general-know-it-all “Who’s juggling the earth?”
Tease all the natives that will walk across your grave
And shove aside your nation all for what it’s worth

Beat yourself blind [Repeat 6x]
An open eyes and a closed mind

Look at the suit in suspended animation
A faded outline that used to be a man
A piece of paper that’s fallen out a window
Has got a better chance to know where it will land

[Repeat Chorus]

To bleed in vain, to bleed in vain–under my eyes are painted skies
Down at the boneyard, they’re diggin’ up the relics
Handfuls of parasites thrown into machines
I got the phone call they’re tearin’ down the mission
The zombies had a ball, but don’t know what it means

Beat yourself blind

5. Eileen

[Affuso, Bach, Bolan, Snake]

There are things we cannot see that hang
Within her sight
There are people we won’t remember that
Dance with her at night

Eileen’s calling me
To sit awhile and talk to trees
Eileen can’t you see
The songs you sing are scaring me

Eileen, Eileen

She romances with the moon
Full and alone
It’s really a street light
It’s something we all know

[Repeat Chorus]

6. Remains To Be Seen

[Bolan, Hill, Snake]

Shy a quarters headroom
I saw the
Half-moon was burning down
Play with your reflection ’cause
And infection is going around

Dive head-on into me, Dive head-on into me
Dive head-on into me, Dive head-on into me

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

Dive head-on into you, Dive head-on into you
Dive head-on into you, Dive head-on into you

Bury the news with the views from
the door
Rattle the bones with the drones at the
Corner store–see them for myself

Commies, kinks and masochists
Weirdos, love and homicide
Witches, freaks and 45s
Kick a painted pony let the spinning wheel ride

7. Subhuman Race

[Bolan, Hill, Snake]

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

You look at me like I’m subhuman
You talk to me like I’m subhuman
You’re treating me like I’m subhuman
You’re jumping into the subhuman race

Brothers hear my story, but don’t you take no pity out on me
A soldier knows the feeling to get pushed out in a field
Taking liberties; burned by your dictation

[Repeat Chorus]

8. Frozen

[Bolan, Snake]

As I stare into the fire
All my thoughts go up in flames
Here I stare into the fire
I’ll be waiting on the rain

The box I keep myself in, closes out my air
So I build a fire, so I can sit and stare

Can it be I’m frozen
Can it be I’m frozen
Can it be I’m frozen
Can it be I’m frozen

As I stare into the weather
My eyes drying from the cold
As I stare into the weather
I sense my thoughts growing old

[Repeat Chorus]

I listen to the prophets predict the stem of tides
I stare into the weather that’s keeping me inside

[Repeat Chorus]

As I stare into the fire
Will the prophets change my mind
While I stare into the fire
All the colors treat me kind

I’ll dust away the fallings the winter leaves for me
I’ll stare into the fire and set tomorrow free

[Repeat Chorus]

9. Into Another

[Bolan, Snake]

Slowly I heal the love that’s found its way
Onto another path in times of change
Crossing a bridge unknown
Hoping our strength will hold
Should they both let go then let me lay
…..Let me lay

Show me a sign
To a light that shines
One direction into another
Sheltered peace of mind

Somewhere I lost a piece of memory
Somehow I know my legs will carry me
Searching for circles end
Hoping the wounds will mend
Should this scar, then it was meant to be

[Repeat Chorus 3x]

10. Face Against My Soul

[Affuso, Bach, Bolan, Snake]

How can I see tomorrow if you keep me in the dark
When will I see forever if you damn me from the start
There must be a way to get through to your
Blackened heart

You build a wall inside a wall and there’s no door

Lay your body by the water
Press your face against my soul
Wading through all your convictions
We can come in from the cold

Searching greener pastures, finding desert sands
Cycles on the treadmill turn up empty hands
Do I have to bloodlet just to get another chance

Inside of you there’s a view that sees me there

[Repeat Chorus]

11. Medecine Jar

[Bolan, Hill, Snake]

Caught the mother jack knifin’
A little bit low lifin’
Goin’ twenty paces with the medicine man
Runnin’ from the girl in pigskin
A little gun shy but shootin’
Hidin’ in the kitchen with his head in his hand

Bleed, me–why can’t you say what you mean?

How far has it gone, it didn’t take you long
To put your hand in the medicine jar
In your private hell, now you’ve found yourself
In the hands of the medicine jar

Sittin’ here with all your bitchin’
Cookin’ up a new addiction
Prayin’ that the light of day ain’t wakin’ the dead
Droppin’ like a bomb on Hiro
Shakin’ like San Francisco
Only to be diggin’ out to do it again

Bleed, me–why can’t you say what you mean?

[Repeat Chorus]

Make it go away, make it go a–way

Caught the mother jack knifin’
A little bit of low lifin’
Goin’ twenty paces with the medicine man
Droppin’ like the bomb on Hiro
Shakin’ like San Francisco
Hidin’ in the jungle with your head in the sand

[Repeat Chorus 2x]

One step from bein’ free, what did you think
You’d see at the bottom of the medicine jar

12. Breakin’ Down


What was it you once said
That there would be things in life that couldn’t be
Not for a second did I believe you
Not for a minute did I believe that

Within your need you lie alone
This empty space you call your home

If you just let me in
I wouldn’t let you break down
I’m breakin’ down

As if you thought the rain could wash away the day
And could heal you
Not for a second did I believe it
Not for a minute did I believe that

Within your need you lie alone
This empty space you call your home

[Repeat Chorus 2x]

What was it you once said
That there would be things in life that couldn’t be
Not for a second did I believe you
Not for a minute did I believe that

[Repeat Chorus 2x]

13. Iron Will

[Affuso, Bolan, Hill, Snake]

Life comes and goes, quick as does the day
Greed, for those who know is just a step away
Time’s a breathing bomb, going with the flow
Stand atop it all outside the status quo

No see, no speak then know where you’re goin’
Drag your feet then nothing you’re showin’
Take your place or fall to the lions
Lose your face and stand where you’re dying

Living in a hole is taking its toll
My iron will’s in position
Seize you are not owed, stand or fall
And refuse to be denied

Pride is all in vain without the blood of need
Bones can break in shame from taking charity
Hide from all the hell and wash up with the tide
Wait and you commit psychological suicide

Break the molds of beg and submission
Wake the dead or no one will listen
Holding ground is just the beginning
It’s uphill bound and in for the killing

[Repeat Chorus]

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