Not much gets me as hyped up as the prospect of a new PRIMAL FEAR album on the horizon. So when brand-spankin’ new disc Apocalypse (August 10, Frontiers Music) made its way to my speakers I was understandably excited, as they’ve become one of my favorites in the last five years or so. Ralf Scheepers is a vocal God among men, and the band creates metal anthem after metal anthem for their legions of adoring fans. The triple-threat guitar attack of Magnus Karlsson, Tom Naumann, and Alex Beyrodt rips it up, bassist Mat Sinner holds it down, and drummer Francesco Jovino has proven to be a formidable weapon in this band’s arsenal. So naturally I couldn’t wait to tear into this one.
After the intro (I HATE INTROS!!) the band comes out all guns blazing with “New Rise” a song that, if we’re being honest, I didn’t know what to make of at first. Sure, it’s fast and heavy, but the initial spin reminded me of that swords and dragons type of Power Metal that I normally can’t stand. Upon further listens though, I started to get it, and I realized this was just an all-around ripper of epic proportions. Next song “The Ritual” is definitely one of my favorites, with a locked-in groove and riffs that could cut the glass of a jewelry store window in Manhattan. Scheepers sounds like a man possessed on this track and I couldn’t be happier with it.
“King of Madness” is one of the more melodic songs found here, which is a good thing. I was digging this one from the first chorus on. Meanwhile “Blood Sweat & Fear” will take your fucking head off as it charges full speed ahead, blade at the ready. Oh, and how about “Hail to the Fear”, huh? Tell me you don’t feel this one pounding into your chest and I will call you a fucking liar to your face. “Supernova” is a little change of pace, but Scheepers unleashes one of his best vocal performances on this number. “Hounds of Justice” has one of the album’s most soaring hooks, and anyone saying this is a bad song should be strung up by their thumbs.
When it comes to tr00 metal power and glory, “The Beast” represents that in spades. The guitarwork is beyond sexy, and overall the song just slays. With every PRIMAL FEAR album lately we get an epic…a song that clocks in around eight minutes or more. And this time around, here comes “Eye of the Storm.” Now, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow my mind like “One Night In December” or “We Walk Without Fear” did in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Still, it was a job well done, and as always, good on them for creating epics.
The album ends with “Cannonball”. Scheepers sounds great, the guitars, bass, and drums are hefty, and you can feel the anthemic quality here. But me, I really wasn’t into this one. Despite some supercool guitar solo work, it didn’t quite hook me. My problem is I’ve been spoiled by Delivering the Black, because that’s my favorite record from this band. Look, at the end of the day Apocalypse from PRIMAL FEAR is a good, and at times great record. But I’m not getting the same killer feelings I got in 2014 and 2016. I definitely hope that happens once again. In the meantime, enjoy this one. And don’t you worry, the live show will kick your fucking ass!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Ritual”, “King of Madness”, “Blood Sweat & Fear”, “Hail to the Fear”