Without doubt Germany’s Primal Fear has stayed true within their roots of heavy metal ever since the release of the self titled debut in 1998, an album I still enjoy today. This is the bands tenth studio output and if you’re already a Primal Fear fan then this isn’t likely to hold many surprises for you except for the ballad and two tunes that you would consider as epic in the scheme of things. Opener “King For A Day” is a solid promo video backed tune with blazing riffing and a sauntering double bass undercurrent. Starting no different to other Primal Fear albums, and why should it, the infectious chorus is sang expansively with Scheepers’s bellowing lungs and vocal chords. His voice is inimitable flowing through the verses confidently before the lead work sets about ravishing the ears in an ocean of melody and tunefulness.
The speed and heaviness increase a tad on “Rebel Fraction” after its intro with a crunchy riff and much quicker snare than you’d expect generally from this band. However “When Death Comes Knocking” is the first of the two longer tunes on here and begins with an acoustic piece and gently transforms into a cruising rock song not too far off the likes of Hammerfall and Saxon when they did the “Crusader” song so many years ago. I guess you’d reference Manowar for the slow fist pounding pace and Sabaton for the symphonic like atmosphere the song possesses. It certainly is a little different for Primal Fear but it doesn’t take much to stretch what they already have under their belts into the confines of epic heavy metal with rousing choruses keeping you singing constantly.
I definitely enjoyed the title track which has a rasping opening riff and double kick that is perfect open motorway driving music but keep an eye on your speed I guess. The Priest manifestations are rife within the band’s music and I’ve always held that as a compliment for the band, but the chorus is typical of the band with a virtual macho chant used. The lyrics are simple, ingrained in your head within a couple of listens and perfect gig material. Second epic tune is “One Night In December” moving close to ten minutes the song has weather effects, bird noises, bells and a background drum beat with piano. I’m sure you’ve got the picture in your head as lone solo female vocals drift in with some symphonics before the main riff interrupts it all. Ralf’s vocals are a little deeper here, as the verse is dark and sombre before the pre-chorus and choral break bring you back to Primal Fear’s more typical moments, memorable vocal lines and straight up metal riffing. This is different for Primal Fear that’s for sure, but not within heavy metal and especially power metal, with grandiose compositions being mainstay of the power metal scene anyway. However the tune passes quickly and before you realise it the bridge arrives for the lead work and the closing finale is on you in a blink. Cheesy song of the album goes to “Never Pray For Justice” with saw noises starting it up and is incredibly safe for the band, but is required to break up the epic before the ballad “Born With A Broken Heart” which when you hear it will have you thinking of Iced Earth’s finest ballad moments on “I Died For You”, “Melancholy” and of course “Watching Over Me”. Guesting on this is Liv Kristine whose voice is quite low in the mix on the chorus and could have been utilised a lot more to make the song sound richer and more opulent to the listener. “Inseminoid” closes the album and is probably my favourite tune of them all being much heavier and punchier after the wonderful opening harmonised riff. It’s a pure power metal song, copious bass drumming and a pace to keep those neck muscles lubricated after the ballad and an excellent song to close the album with and makes sure you remember what Primal fear are all about.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)