Primal Fear Rulebreaker
Frontiers Records Srl start their 2016 release schedule with what for me could well be the metal album of 2016.Start the year off with a bang I say!!
Primal Fear release the follow up to 2014's Delivering The Black on the 22nd of January in Europe and with Rulebreaker have set the bar very high for all bands to follow.
I was fortunate enough to hear Rulebreaker on Christmas Eve for the first time and what a Christmas present I had a day early.This is old school heavy metal made for 2016 with a quite wonderful production from producer and engineer (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Amaranthe).
They have captured the rawness of the guitars of Alex Beyrodt,Magnus Kalsson and the returning Tom Naumann with a real crunch to the sound but always melodic and new drummer Francesco Jovino sounds huge with a superb snare sound and pounding double bass drumming when required.
Rabble rousing choruses made for stadium's abound with vocalist Ralf Scheepers on fine form and using his full range from ear splitting screams to soft vocals on the album's only ballad The Sky Is Burning.
It doesn't stray too far from their usual blueprint of Judas Priest/Accept style heavy metal with balls the size of dinosaurs but when it is done with such conviction and authenticity we should all rejoice in their stoicism to the cause.
From opener Angels Of Mercy to the uncompromising closer Raving Mad this needs to be played at 11 and annoy the hell out of the neighbours with air guitars to the fore.
Angles Of Mercy starts with what sounds like a furnace melting before at 22 seconds the first of many gargantuan guitar riffs crashes in and you feel your neck wanting to start moving.The riff keeps on giving and with the rhythm section holding it all together you can just imagine the pit at their live show's going mad with horns raised and yelling the chorus back as Scheepers goes through his range right to ear splitting at the end of the chorus.
The End Is Near has a real chugging guitar riff at it's core with another one over the top and a slight slow down in the drums but if anything alongside the guitar's main riff it makes the song rock even harder!!A twin guitar solo which is very melodic ups the quality even higher before the crushing double guitar riff takes us back to the ever impressive chorus.
Bullets And Tears has a thunderous rhythm section at it's core and after a melodic guitar part over a heavy riff as the first verse starts all 3 guitarist's join together with a riff made of granite.Stop start riff pre chorus before a superb melodic chorus and plenty of backing whoa whoa's that leads to another melodic guitar solo.
The title track Rulebreaker is next and a real Judas Priest feel to it with a stop start guitar riff played alongside a chugging masterpiece made for head banging.The riffs then build together as the chorus kicks in and what a beauty it is with a gang feel to the backing vocals again made for live shows.The mid song guitar solo starts with a real shred feel to it before more melodic soloing.Brilliant.
In Metal We Trust is an anthem.Simple as that.Stop start guitar riff and vocals before the band all crash in and it is heads down to the finish with Jovino showing off his double bass chops alongside a head bangers dream of a riff.Made for the live shows as it just keeps going and going and you can imagine the crowd needing a break afterwards!!
We Walk Without Fear is a near 11 minute tour de force that gets better and better with each play.It is the sign of a great song when it doesn't feel that long.There is some of my beloved light and shade on this one with an early symphonic build up and also mid song too as the song swoops and soars with crushing guitar riffs and band interplay with Jovino again starring.Plenty of guitar soloing too and some soaring guitar duelling and Karlsson's keyboard symphonic's give the song a real depth too.A masterpiece.
At War With The World sees the neck getting another work out with a chug along guitar riff and Jovino's driving rhythm and another gang chorus to sing along too.
The Devil In Me sees a slight change of pace with Jovino laying down a slower rhythm but no drop in quality with a stop start guitar riff and a huge gang chorus with added whoa whoa's.
Constant Heart is a heads down banger with another crunchy guitar riff before The Sky Is Burning sees the band drop it into ballad territory and Scheepers showing off his full range alongside some melodic soloing.
Raving Mad finishes the album as it should with a 3 minute full on riff heavy and drum blow out with a gang chorus and Scheepers going up an octave on every chorus.
With every play my smile get's bigger as Primal Fear set the standard for 2016 with a release of pure heavy metal joy and for that we should all rejoice.