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Primal Fear - New Religion (CD)

Primal Fear
New Religion
by Grigoris Chronis at 05 September 2007, 11:22 PM

When I read Frontiers Records inked deal with German metallers PRIMAL FEAR for a new album, I couldn't help myself but laugh loud. I would never imagine a pure Heavy Metal band signing to a melodic Rock/AOR label. Then I got stressed: would PRIMAL FEAR alter their style this much, to sound more 'melodic'? Huh… Then I got the promo copy of New Religion in my hands and - after listening to the entire album for five or six times in a row - thing (re)turned to be clear enough again. OK, it's PRIMAL FEAR we're talkin' about and New Religion is their brand new album. And a very good one, too.
The album will be available in stores around the globe in late September. While writing this review in a hot summer noon, the first decoding I had to rush myself to occupy with was the album's title. New Religion? Whatcha hell? Is it the new label defining a new start for the band? Maybe… Damn, it's a bad thing promo CDs do not contain lyrics or a relative 'press release' sheet giving details for key facts regarding the specific album… Anyway, songwriting for New Religion dates back in late 2006 plus Charlie Bauerfeind (SAXON, BLIND GUARDIAN, HAMMERFALL etc) handled the recordings (at House Of Music studios) with Mat Sinner giving a helping hand, while Galaxy Studio in Belgium and award winning engineer Ronald Prent (IRON MAIDEN, MANOWAR, RAMMSTEIN) were in charge of the mix of the album. As regards the musicianship, PRIMAL FEAR welcomes back guitarist Henny Wolter (an old band member; first departed in late 2002) while Magnus Carlsson (ALLEN/LANDE, STARBREAKER) donates a couple of guitar solos and EPICA singer Simone Simons contributes guest lead vocals in one song. Drummer Randy Black sits behind the kit again and…you know the rest of the crew.
As Sign Of Fear starts off (the same applies to Blood On your Hands, The Curse Of Sharon, Psycho and World On Fire), the tempo and the rigorous riffs remind us of the predictable (JUDAS PRIEST/HALFORD-like) yet adorable identity of PRIMAL FEAR. Face The Emptiness, on the other hand, carries on with a keys-dominated intro, bearing an - in general - Euro Power atmosphere. The keys never 'leave' the song, as the chorus turns out to be a typical PRIMAL FEAR one, again, but in an extra spooky vibe. The drumming of Black is rather important for the song's consistency, in addition. As for the duet with Simone Simons (Everytime It Reigns), I did not really find any interest in it, since the song seems to be quite 'pale' for the dynamics of PRIMAL FEAR. An expected 'hit' for this song in the near future? Even if…
…the Oscar should go to Fighting The Darkness (overlapping the in-your-face Metal quality of the same-titled tune). A weird tune for PRIMAL FEAR, but definitely one of the best pieces of music the band has crafted so far, the song counts less that 9 minutes being divided in three parts. Fighting The Darkness is a dark opus, rather 'far' from the FEAR technique, presenting some great orchestra arrangements and some 'top' Ralf Scheepers singing; a 'fat' Metal ballad the 21st century way, featuring a pompous intermezzo and an ideal reprise.
Too Much Time strikes in the Power Metal side of PRIMAL FAR, featuring hellish riffing and double-bass drumming, while the chorus sees Scheepers singing ultra-melodic. The Man (That I Don't Know) wraps up the album with its alien atmosphere, featuring a slow-down tempo, tons of keys and wonderful parts. The couple is endorsed by clean guitars and epic singing, while the chorus is traveling and emotional (the PRIMAL FEAR way, of course!) plus the solo is outstanding, screaming and passionate. An ideal desert for New Religion, truly…
This may - or may not - be a new era by this hard working Metal quintet. New Religion acts like the summary of the bands so far career. There's dynamics, there's atmosphere, there's passion, there's vibe. I see New Religion as the most integrated album PRIMAL FEAR has ever created. Two video clips were shot for Fighting The Darkness and Sign Of Fear and will act as bonus 'goodies' for the album's digipack limited edition. Either format, the basis is in New Religion being an(other) excellent release for all Metal likes. Grab it!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Sign Of Fear
Face The Emptiness
Everytime It Rains
New Religion
Fighting The Darkness:
- Fighting The Darkness
- The Darkness
- Reprise
Blood On Your Hands
The Curse Of Sharon
Too Much Time
Psycho
World On Fire
The Man (That I Don't Know)
Lineup:
Ralf Scheepers - Lead & Backing Vocals
Stefan Leibing - Lead Vocals, Guitars
Henny Wolter - Guitars
Randy Black - Drums
Mat Sinner - Bass
Guest Musicians:
- Simone Simons - Vocals on Everytime It Rains
- Tobias Lundgren - Backing Vocals
- Ronny Milianowicz - Loops & Support
- Matz Ulmer - Keyboards
- Magnus Karlsson - Lead Guitar
Record Label: Frontiers
     


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