Album Review: Primal Fear – Rulebreaker

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PRIMAL FEAR rbkrWith ten studio albums released and the last release 2 years ago, German heavy metal band Primal Fear is back with Rulebreaker to be released January 22nd, in Europe and January 29th, 2016 in North America on Frontiers Records.

I first heard of Primal Fear just over 2 years ago. When their last CD Delivering the Black was released I knew by the end of 2014 it would be in my top 10 for that year. Sure enough, it ended up as 3rd. I got to know their back catalogue, went to see them live in 2014 and became a fan of this power melodic metal band. I have been counting the days since Rulebreaker was announced. Even though I have an advance digital copy, my deluxe version is on pre-order. After the massive Delivering The Black world tour, the band started the songwriting in spring 2015 and recorded at Hansen Studios in Denmark, with producer Mat Sinner and engineer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Amaranthe).

11 new blistering heavy metal tracks are ready to rock in every possible stereo I get my hands on.

Former Gamma Ray vocalist Ralf Scheepers and bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner founded the band in late 1997. Primal Fear is Ralf Scheepers – Vocals, Mat Sinner – Bass & Vocals, Alex Beyrodt – Guitars, Magnus Karlsson – Guitars & Keyboards, Tom Naumann – Guitars (first time since 2005 on an album) and Francesco Jovino – Drums (3rd drummer since 2014).

Angels of Mercy” is the first song and a true powerhouse. Heavy riffs, pounding drums and Scheepers with his passionate vocals to his screams that get up there with the best of them (Halford). “The End is Near” is the single and video. I am familiar with this track since the single came out – it is the perfect single. Fist pounding heavy metal at its finest. Will surely be a crowd pleaser played live and loud.

Bullets & Tears” is a great heavy melodic track with a chorus that will have the fans singing along and rocking out.

Title track “Rulebreaker” is a little lighter still keeping a heavier feel and this band doesn’t have any rules. Anything they do fits perfectly on their albums.

In Metal We Trust” takes us back to the heavy metal heroes the longtime fans have known. The screams, fast drumming and the guitar work from these fine European guitarists make this a classic metal song.

We Walk Without Fear “really brings out something new in Primal Fear. They have done a handful of long songs in the 7-8 minute range. This one is a piece that is just under 11 minutes of purePrimal Fear band art. A wonderful orchestral arrangement, complex sound and texture design creating a symphonic feel. Primal Fear has really spread their wings with this one.

Back to the sound that has made Primal Fear a worldwide act is “At War With The World”. The guitar trio of Karlsson, Naumann and Beyrodt doing what they do best is outstanding throughout.

The Devil In Me”. A darker track that paints a very interesting feeling of hypnotizing the listener into the creative minds of Primal Fear.

Constant Heart” brings us back to the raw heavy metal of Primal Fear. Jovino pounding the drums showing he is a perfect fit in the band. At 50 years old Scheepers shows his range of vocals has only improved from each album.

The Sky Is Burning -1” slows things down but still powerful as you would expect on this well-written track.

The end of Rulebreaker has approached, with the last song “Raving Mad“. Scheepers starts off with his screams that Halford would be proud of. That would make a great project album Halford/Scheepers. Continuing into a fast paced track, this finishes the album off with a bang only to leave us waiting for the live performance of these tracks.

February 5th Primal Fear will start their Worldwide tour, Europe, USA, Canada and Japan, so far.

Overall a perfect follow-up from the outstanding 2014 release Delivering The Black and I am only looking forward to more from this world class heavy metal band.

Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

BUY: Primal Fear – Rulebreaker

Primal Fear Website / Primal Fear Facebook

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