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Primal Fear - Metal Commando

Primal Fear
Metal Commando
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 24 June 2020, 12:48 AM

PRIMAL FEAR is Traditional Heavy Metal band from Esslingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. This is their thirteenth full-length album and first since 2018’s ‘’Apocalypse’’. Magnus Karlsson and Ralf Scheepers’s gang is back again with this new opus. After a slew of great albums starting from 2012’s ‘’Unbreakable’’ to ‘’Rulebreaker’’ back in 2016, they released an awesome live album but a very mediocre album called ‘’Apocalypse’’. Is it the start of the downward spiral to this long beloved band? But wait there’s more…

I make no bones about it, PRIMAL FEAR are in my top 15 favorite bands. You have one of the very best vocalist of all time with a very Traditional Heavy Metal sound, hell, the guy did audition for JUDAS PRIEST after all! I love the band, I love the vibe of the band and they give a killer live show. The band commands the stage like almost no other band. Their strength relies on a singer that can sing both live and in studio without a false note.

The first single is a big indicator of what will bring forth the album. ‘’Along Came the Devil’’ could have been a B-Side from ‘’New Religion’’ or even ‘’Seven Seals’’. I am pretty sure I have heard these riffs before and they are just recycling or hashing out old ides. It’s very cliché and the lyrics are kind of boring or unimaginative. It’s a paint by numbers Metal song that is overly produced and way too many layers added. This song is pretty much an afterthought. It’s a big headbanger but it just falls flat.

The soaring voice of Ralf Scheepers does save the album from total blubbery. He does a fine job on ‘’I Am Alive’’, ‘’Howl of the Banshee’’ and ‘’Halo’’. These songs really stand out from the rest of the album, this is the PRIMAL FEAR of old, intense songs like they are accustomed to. These songs could have fit with any of their great albums, they get your heart pumping and your blood boiling. I am pretty sure these songs will be added to their live repertoire. I am also a bit tired of seeing songs with the word ‘’fear’’ in them, it’s getting a bit ridiculous. I know it’s like an inside joke and a sort of running gag but it’s lame honestly. We know we know, you guys are called PRIMAL FEAR, get over it!

It's a pretty cohesive album, when you hear an album by them, you pretty much heard them all. It’s not going to reinvent the wheel and some songs really are great and you have those subpar tracks that should have been left on the backburner. They always establish their distinctive sound to an album, you have the faster songs, the mid-tempo songs and the pure headbangers. It’s the formula, it’s their formula and it usually gives the listener something for everyone. This album has decent production but it felt way too overproduced and I think a fresh pair of ears could be beneficial for their next album. They can wait more than two years and really work on these songs and I think Magnus Karlsson should take a bigger place in the lyrics department. He does a masterful job with his solo project and PRIMAL FEAR would benefit from a bigger input by the main shredder. The lyrics are beginning to be too straightforward and unimaginative. The well is dry persay and the album suffers from poor lyrical content.

The album finished with an epic 13-minute track called ‘’Infinity’’. It’s a bit too long for my taste and it’s their longest track since ‘’Fighting the Darkness’’ I believe. It has a bit of everything, from soaring vocals, to some strong leads and powerful emotions displayed. It could have been 5 minutes shorter and it would have finished the album on a high note. It shows every side of the band in that time span and still a pretty solid track. Scheepers pours his heart out on this one. Yet again, do not do a long song just for the sake of doing a long song…

I am still a fan even after two disappointing albums in a row and I would not hesitate one second to see them again in concert, I honestly think they should give themselves more time for the next album and come refreshed. They are really starting to run out of ideas and the machine isn’t rolling as it was 5-10 years ago. A good album but nothing to write home about.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I Am Alive
2. Along Came the Devil
3. Halo
4. Hear Me Calling
5. The Lost & the Forgotten
6. My Name is Fear
7. I Will Be Gone
8. Raise Your Fists
9. Howl of the Banshee
10. Afterlife
11. Infinity
Lineup:
Magnus Karlsson – Guitars
Michael Ehre – Drums
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Mat Sinner – Bass
Alexander Beyrodt – Guitars
Tom Naumann – Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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Edited 27 October 2021
 

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