Saturday, 1 March 2014

Album Review; Primal Fear - Delivering The Black

Track Listing:

1. King For A Day
2. Rebel Faction
3. When Death Comes Knocking
4. Alive & On Fire
5. Delivering The Black
6. Road To Asylum
7. One Night In December
8. Never Pray For Justice
9. Born With A Broken Heart
10. Inseminoid

It's rare for me to find a Power Metal album that I can listen to right through without cringing. More often than not there's at least one ballad that just makes me want to throw my stomach up due to a cheese overload. Oftentimes the word 'Power' seems to make the label a contradiction in terms.

This is not true of 'Delivering The Black' by Primal Fear.

From the opener 'King For A Day', this is a balls-out, full-steam-ahead charge of vamped up Power Metal to bang your head to with your fist held high. Ralf Scheepers' voice, Alex Beyrodt's and Magnus Karlsson's guitars and Randy Black's drums all blend together to make a constantly epic torrent of classy sounding metal. The riffs heard on 'Rebel Faction' will get stuck in your head in the very best way. The guitar solo shows the two axemen to be magnificently skilled at their craft.

'When Death Comes Knocking' takes things down to a slower pace, but has another phenomenal riff that will please the most ardent headbanger and the kind of lyrics that will keep the battle-hardened Power Metal diehard singing his heart out, especially at the inspiring chorus that could have easily been an Iron Maiden or Judas Priest hit. The eastern flavoured acoustic interval in the middle of the track is a welcome addition to the formula as well, and the guitar solo it goes into is top notch.

'Alive & On Fire' brings a Rock 'N' Roll feel to the fray, with the overall vibe matching something like Saxon or Accept. Without a doubt, Mat Sinner's backing vocals bring a grittier element that keeps the cheese almost non-existence. The title track brings back the faster pace, with the lyrical content that befits a band ten albums into their career; a majestic and fantastical take on what it's like being in a Metal band!

The band doesn't let up, there's no filler to be heard here. 'Road To Asylum' may be a bit more low-key as the chorus melodies go, but the rhythms in the music are still heavy enough to keep the listener's full attention engaged. The album is filled with great songs, this is the key to Primal Fear's success on this album; the song writing. The album sounds complete; flowing without a hiccup, each song as great as the last. Nine minute epic 'One Night In December' starts with beautiful melodies on keys and strings, before giving way to a guitar solo. The pace may vary, but the impact of the song does not. The quality remains high, and the song does not feel half as long as it really is. The orchestration behind the song is enough to make Nightwish shake their head in envious frustration, and the guitars soloing with harmonies and then in a trade-off shows again the skills that this band have acquired in their seventeen year career.

'Never Pray For Justice' keeps the epic juices flowing; again the guitar players work in conjunction to give a great intro to the song. Ralf Scheepers vocal screeches and soars above it all, the Judas Priest influence unmistakable. 'Born With A Broken Heart' brings things to lighter-waving ballad territory. The song is huge and sweeping, and though the lyrical content may be a bit too familiar, it's a great song, and as the only full-on Power Metal Ballad on the album, it's actually a welcome addition that helps keep the album from sounding too samey.

'Inseminoid' brings this album to a fast and satisfying finish. The song is a veritable battering of what makes Power Metal a great sub-genre, when it's done properly. This whole album is Power Metal at it's very best. Yes, the raw ingredients have been used many times across the lifetime of the Metal genre, but here, Primal Fear have brought these components together in a brilliant and very moreish fashion. This German band have just released the album that should put them in the same breaths as Helloween, Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian. If ever an album was to show that Power Metal is more than just a cheesy joke in the 21st Century, this is the album.

Rating: 10/10

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