PrimitaiNow this is a heart-warming listen and then some. Boasting a denim-and-leather fuelled assault of unashamed melodic metal, this Berkshire-based five-piece have chosen to roar out of the traps all guns blazing with their fourth full-length. Polished and professional, there’s almost a sense of quaintness at how far away ‘Night Brings Insanity’ resides from current trends sweeping the UK underground – in an era of Abyssal Death Metal Rituals, hi-top wearing ‘Soundhouse Tapes’ Maiden clones and Bong Witch ‘flares ‘n’ fuzz’ early 70s clichés, Primitai set out their stall with a slab of resolutely contemporary European-flavoured hard rock/power metal.

Equal parts Primal Fear, Dio, Whitesnake and W.A.S.P., this outfit have manage to work out the secret that so many ploughing this potentially dangerous furrow fall foul of – songs. And ‘Night Brings Insanity’ is chock-full of them, hooks hanging from each track like the wardrobe of Hellraiser’s Pinhead after a particularly brutal night. ‘Black Rider’ gets the ball rolling and before we know it, we’re three songs (and three absurdly catchy choruses) down. ‘Savage Skies’ has a wonderfully drawn out main refrain whilst the title track brings a hefty dose of double-kick laden drive to another ear-worm of a chorus.

Following these, ‘Power Surge’ is pure classic W.A.S.P. – the heartfelt ‘woah-woahs!’ are delivered sans-irony and as full-bollocked as they should be. Still the quality of the writing continues – ‘Night Hunter’ and ‘Conclusion Forgone’ are razor-sharp rockers – indeed, we’re even thrown a decent ballad in the shape of the epic ‘Conclusion Forgone’. The lead guitar work throughout the album is a treat also, being a splendid blend of technical fireworks and tasteful control. Impressive.

I do have some reservations – for a start, the artwork is terrible. I know they’re pitching at the rock ‘n’ roll ‘party all night’ metal crowd but really chaps, it’s not good enough.

More seriously, in its quest to stand toe-to-toe with Wacken-friendly heavyweights, the production here is too polished for my tastes. Vocalist Guy Miller for example has sturdy, flexible pipes for sure but suspicions linger as to how much studio magic has actually been applied to his voice here. The worst culprit is the drums however – the kick, snare and toms sound horribly processed and digital almost to the point of being completely artificial. It seems a small point but wondering whether you’re actually listening to a human drummer driving the band detracts somewhat from the energetic and fist-raising material Primitai have crafted.

These are always the pitfalls about pitching one’s music at the more mainstream end of the metal spectrum however and production can become more refined (and less obviously ‘treated’) when budgets increase – lest we forget after all, this is still a self-released album. Primitai have put together a cracking set of rollicking tunes here that are about as trendy as rocking up to the Black Heart in a shell-suit and for that at the very least, I salute them.

(8/10 Frank Allain)