I don’t know how or why I had no idea who PRIMAL FEAR were. I can’t believe they are on album number ten, and I just discovered them a month ago. I really have no excuse, none. That being said, man am I one happy camper right now! I spent most of last month rocking out to some of this German Juggernaut’s older albums, 2012’s Unbreakable in particular, which I couldn’t get enough of, and then along comes the advance copy of new record Delivering the Black. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!? It’s not due out till January 28 here in the States via Frontiers Records! I almost tripped and broke my head open running up the stairs to get to my office and press PLAY. Mind you, if I HAD broken my head open I sure as hell wouldn’t go to the hospital till I got through at least one go-round with this album, I’ll tell ya that much!
Right out of the gate “King For a Day” sets the classic/speed/power metal tone that resonates throughout all ten tracks. Riffs galore and a rather Halford-like delivery from vocalist Ralf Scheepers? SIGN ME UP!! I won’t apologize for all the screaming I’m doing because this album has me all revved up and I can’t help myself. Think Painkiller meets Screaming For Vengeance-era JUDAS PRIEST and you’ll see why I’m so friggin’ excited, OK? The intro to “Rebel Faction” will have you thinking that something mellow and moody is a-comin’ but instead it turns into one of the fastest and heaviest tracks on the disc, drummer Randy Black and bassist Mat Sinner punishing their instruments in brutalizing fashion while guitarists Magnus Karlsson (who also plays keyboards) and Alex Beyrodt lay waste to the metal landscape above, below, and in front of them.
First single “When Death Comes Knocking” has Scheepers utilizing his aggressive voice on the verses and then soaring high on the choruses, and “Alive & On Fire” once again brings us back to PRIEST territory; by NO means is this a bad thing, mind you. Considering they’re my second favorite band in the world, I have no qualms with PRIMAL FEAR paying homage musically. The fluid solos on this one also stood out on my first listen, making it a favorite. Guitar aficionados will also love the riffage on title track “Delivering the Black”. Beyrodt and Karlsson are a formidable duo and they play off of each other flawlessly, especially on the dual harmonized solos.
The drums anchor “Road to Asylum” and let me tell you something… that Mr. Black hits HARD! I wonder how many snare drum heads he goes through. This track is pretty damn heavy, ‘nuff said. Now we come to the song that is so mind-blowing and atmospheric I can’t even do it justice: “One Night In December” is nearly ten minutes of songwriting perfection. You guys know how much I dig the big epic numbers and this one does NOT disappoint. It’s safe to say that this one IS MY RUNAWAY FAVORITE!! I hope and pray they do it live when they’re here in Dallas on May 18. Then again, if they do I may explode!!
The chainsaw at the beginning of “Never Pray For Justice” is only fitting because the track slices through the air like the proverbial saw blades, cutting through everything and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. After eight pummeling metal masterpieces, it’s time for a change of pace, which comes in the form of the album’s lone ballad “Born With a Broken Heart” featuring Liv Kristine from LEAVES’ EYES on backing vocals. As slower songs go, it’s anything but typical or boring and still packs more of a bite than some of what today’s sissified bands are putting out, and the guitar solo is very emotional in its simplicity.
The album closes with “Inseminoid”, a song in which everyone swings for the fences and leaves it all on the floor of the studio. A sonic full-court press, if you will, and just a killer way to end things. So let’s review: I LOVE PRIMAL FEAR! AND I LOVE THIS RECORD!! If you aren’t getting Delivering the Black on January 28 people, then check yourself into a “home” because you’ve clearly gone mad!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM