PRIMAL FEAR- Breaking The Rules Once More
In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve been a huge fan of Primal Fear from day one. HardRadio premiered “Chainbreaker” one night and I just happened to be listening. I was hooked right at that moment, and here we are sixteen years later (damn, has it really been that long? *lol*) and I’m still as much a fan of the Fear as I was that first night.
Very little excites me the way word of a new album from Ralf Scheepers, Mat Sinner and the guys does. The waiting with bated breath for the first single, or even just a teaser to whet the appetite… you get the idea.
And with that out of the way, it’s time to take a look at the newest offering from these German metal monsters, “Rulebreaker”. From the moment you first press Play on the CD (or, in my case, on the MediaPlayer since I bought this digitally from Amazon), you know you’re in for a treat. The foghorn blasts that lead into opener “Angels Of Mercy” serve as your warning. Once the glass shatters and the guitar riffing takes over, you’d better be sitting down. And that riffing is going to kick your ass. You see, they’ve gone and beefed up the sound by bringing in a three guitar (yes, you saw that right) attack to pound you relentlessly into utter submission. Add to that the monstrous rhythm section of Mat Sinner and new drummer Francesco Govino and you have the makings of a masterpiece. And that’s before Ralf Scheepers adds his legendary vocals (that, according to rumors, had him on the short list to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest all those years ago).
The next track, first single “The End Is Near”, is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Fear. Thundering thyrhms, an instantly memorable riff and a melody and hook that will linger in your ears and brain make this the perfect followup. They keep things running smoothly with the midtempo rocker “Bullets And Tears” right into the title track, “Rulebreaker”. This is one of those Primal Fear moments that define an album. Years from now when people are looking back on this band’s amazing career,this is one of those songs that they’re going to remember. Of course, the same could be said for the anthemic “In Metal We Trust”. This one is sure to fire up the live crowds when they hit American shores in the spring (and yes, I am going to be there to see them in Minneapolis come May 4th).
Caught your breath yet? Good… because things are about to venture into somewhat uncharted territory for the Fear. The near-eleven-minute “We Walk Without Fear”. Yes, that’s right. Nearly ELEVEN minutes. And the time flies by. They incorporate so many elements into this one track, yet not a single one seems out of place. While I have a feeling they’re probably going to be leaving this one off the live set, every other track on this album could easily find its way onto the setlist. The up-tempo “At War With The World” and slowed-down yet thundering “The Devil In Me” keep the adrenaline pumping, getting you ready for the breakneck, balls-to-the-wall power of “Constant Heart”- a track that allows Scheepers to once again demonstrate to the world just why he was on that short list for the Priest gig- and why he is considered to this day to be one of the premier metal vocalists in the world.
They slow things back down with “The Sky Is Burning” and finish up the ride with the same energetic frenzy they started with, closing with “Raving Mad”.
Want the bottom line? Here it is. We’re only just a shade over one month into 2016, and we could be looking easily at the album of the year already. Primal Fear has raised the bar once again with Rulebreaker. Fear fans are going to love this album. Those who aren’t fans yet… give this album a listen and I bet you’re going to change your tune in a hell of a hurry.
Rulebreaker gets a 10/10.