PRIMAL FEAR – Delivering The Black (2014)
German metallers PRIMAL FEAR return with their 10th slab of metal “Delivering The Black” to be released by Frontiers Records / Soulfood on January 24 in Europe and January 28 in North America.
Bassist and co-founder Mat Sinner produced the new effort which is easily one of the band’s most explosive records to date. Guitarists Magnus Karlsson and Alex Beyrodt are simply phenomenal with sharp, resonating riffs and melodic spiraling solos through this 10-track skull-crushing bounty CD.
Before touching the skin of the material, I must mention the importance of the production factor. The pairing of Jacob Hansen at the mixing with Achim Köhler mastering along with the watchful of Mat Sinner overseeing the entire process as producer, made this new album from Primal Fear somewhat more bombastic than never.
Generally, it sounds to me like an ’80s kind of mix – as it has always been for this band and here it was magnificently maintained by Jacob Hansen – though the contemporary direction of the instruments. I especially enjoyed the modernized guitar sound, which on “Delivering The Black” felt even vaster, larger than life.
The album kicks off in blazing style with a barrage of crisp riffage and chugging rhythms on the album opener, “King for a Day”. Sinner’s bass and Randy Black’s drums are like a locomotive while the dual guitar leads soar and ensnare the listener. An anthemic hooky chorus and Scheeper’s gritty vocal delivery seal the deal.
A dramatic intro sets the tone for “Rebel Faction” which quickly turns into a speedball of rapid-fire double bass and speed-riffing that will rattle teeth and vibrate bones.
This leads us into the album’s debut single, “When Death Comes Knocking”: a blasting melodious piece which begins with an acoustic intro and a mid-tempo riff. Built for arenas, this beast has a massive feel to it and an undercurrent of Arabian nuances, particularly in the bridge. Scheepers’ performance gives the song an epic melodic feel.
The title cut as well as “Road to Asylum” are speeding juggernauts of pounding razor riffs and rhythms. Infectious melodies make them among the record’s most memorable tracks.
The tolling of the bell and cawing birds lead into an emotive piano melody on the intro to the album’s near ten-minute cinematic piece, “One Night in December”, which is, if I have it right in mind, the longest song Primal Fear ever released. The track has a sumptuous sound and orchestral elements, and a lot of variations and arching melodies which makes it really special.
You almost could say that a fierce CD like this also needs a ballad. Sometimes these ballads are overloaded with cliche… not in the case of Primal Fear. “Born with a Broken Heart” became a great song and an emotional ballad featuring Leaves Eyes’ female vocalist Liv Kristine doing some fine backing vocals. Scheepers hits a poignant mark with his inspired delivery, and once again the guitars dance and spirit the song to new heights.
Closing it all out is the battering-ram rampage of “Inseminoid”, propelled by Black’s lightening quick feet and more fancy-fret axe-work by Beyrodt and Karlsson.
“Delivering The Black” is easily Primal Fear’s best all-around effort in nearly a decade.
The last records from Primal Fear have been good yet not that solid as the first ones, eventhough pretty successful. I’m happy that I can say: this Primal Fear album belongs to the best ones the band has released so far, as all songs are carefully crafted, arranged and focused.
Packed with every bombastic element a metal / hard rock fan could hope for, “Delivering The Black” not only delivers – as the name suggests, it propels you into the center of the arena, leather clad and head-banging.
01 – King For A Day
02 – Rebel Faction
03 – When Death Comes Knocking
04 – Alive & On Fire
05 – Delivering The Black
06 – Road To Asylum
07 – One Night In December
08 – Never Pray For Justice
09 – Born With A Broken Heart
10 – Inseminoid
Ralf Scheepers (vocals)
Alex Beyrodt (guitars)
Magnus Karlsson (guitar, keyboards)
Randy Black (drums)
Mat Sinner (bass, vocals)