Primal Fear – Delivering The Black
Frontiers Records – 2014
It’s really cool when a band hits their full stride and makes an album that ignites all cylinders. Such is the case with Primal Fear’s tenth album Delivering The Black.
Make no mistake; Primal Fear has made some strong albums before now, it’s just that everything comes together this time for a true metal classic.
For my money, Primal Fear is the equivalent of today’s Judas Priest. Ralf Scheepers leads the band with his multi-dimensional voice, which is on full display on every track. His voice is certainly what separates this band from all others vying for their standing in the metal world.
Guitarists Magnus Karlsson and Alex Beyrodt come out firing like Glenn Tipton & K.K. Downing in “King For A Day.” What’s so important about their six-string contribution is how heavy their riffs are and that they help support every song’s melody.
Randy Black pounds a furious drum pace in “Rebel Faction” that bassist Mat Sinner & the two guitarists enthusiastically keep up with. Scheepers is in Rob Halford-mode singing out with powerful long high vocal bursts. This tune impacts like an on-coming NHRA Nitro funny car at full throttle.
The subdued distortion-less guitar intro to “When Death Comes Knocking” is not only incredibly moody, but sets up this epic track as one of the band’s best. The instrumental tone and brilliant audio sound is masterfully captured by the three-pronged production team; Producer Mat Sinner, Engineer Achim “Akeem” Köhler and Mixer Jacob Hansen. I really like how the slowdown section with sitar & exotic percussion contrasts with the massive power licks.
It’s almost impossible not to fall into the groove of “Alive and On Fire.” There are so many moments that this tune made me think of Judas Priest. Scheepers delivers power, grit and harmony with equal measure. The way Beyrodt and Karlsson trade off during the lead parts is remarkable similar to Tipton & Downing.
The title track “Delivering The Black” steamrolls with gigantic inexorable metallic force that will crush everything in its way. Super-charged guitars pulverize a soundscape that’s heightened by Black’s thunderous drums and Sinner’s huge bottom sound. The lyrics and the way Scheepers sings make this song instantly a heavy metal monster of a tune.
Black bashes out the steps to take during the “Ride To Asylum.” The guitars and bass help transport you as if they are part of a heavy metal vehicle. Ralf Scheepers is the conductor, narrating the journey to the institution offering protection and safety from insanity & dementia.
“One Night In December” has the band incorporating a large orchestral arrangement that features stellar sound design. The complex instrumentation is beautifully constructed to go along with Primal Fear’s hard hitting approach. The 10-minute large scale composition confirms these guys high-level of musicality. I wish I knew exactly what inspired the intriguing lyrics because the story is emotionally moving.
“Never Pray For Justice” is a catchy heavy metal anthem. The chorus and vocals are skillfully done.
Primal Fear shows a new side with the acoustic guitar driven “Born With A Broken Heart.” Liv Kristine (LEAVES’ EYES) joins on vocals to give the song tenderness not usually associated with Primal Fear’s arsenal.
The galloping drum-beat in “Inseminoid” is distinctly of European flavor. This track has Ralf Scheepers at his routinely best, as he sings out the title chorus with astounding range and vocal mastery.
This album in so many ways reminds me of Judas Priest’s high-water mark album Screaming For Vengeance. It rocks super hard with fast energetic tunes that blaze through your stereo faster than you’d like. But like that great Priest album, there are tender moments, atmospheric touches and musical performances on the highest level.
I would absolutely not hesitate to go get this album and join a metal celebration that will be ongoing for many years to come.