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I got into Primal Fear only a half a year ago, when I found their DVD for a suitably low price. It was the song 'Nuclear Fire' that burnt the hair of my balls and there was no turning back. And those shredding, shrieking guitars... Oh yes!!! The band didn't climb into my "must buy every album NOW" list, but I've bought three out of 8 full lengths thus far, in a totally random pattern. I've heard from people, that it's pretty much same what Primal Fear album to try at first, and if you like it, then get the rest of 'em. Now I apply this advice in my reviewing method. 'Devil's Ground', the band's 5th album shall be the first one with its head on a chopping block. So I am not going to compare this with those two other albums I've heard. Or neither am I guessing how the rest five albums might sound by reading stuff about them. So Please, keep that in mind.
'Metal Is Forever'. Damn right it is! This is what I want from Primal Fear: Shredding, shrieking guitars with great riffs, commanding bass lines and rolling beats. And of course those high-pitched yet extremely characteristic vocals by Ralf Scheepers (ex- Tyran' Pace, Ex-Gamma Ray). His voice is a double-edged sword. Gladly I got into his voice as early as 1991, on Gamma Ray's classic 'Sigh no More'. This fella has a real high-pitched voice, but still it is sturdy as it does not break up even on the highest notes, which are close to falsetto. He uses a lot of vibrato. He also sings in lower notes than with glass-shattering voice, and that's where his natural voice really shines. It is so characteristic, if clearly from Rob Halford school. But still, easy to dislike even though his technique is good. By the way, his English pronunciation is not bad at all, as it isn't too Deutsch. The lyrical topics cover what you'd expect them to cover: Metal, wars, religious illusions, demons etc. typical stuff. It's not too bad, it's just familiar.
The original guitarist Tom Naumann (ex-Sinner) and Stefan Leibing, who has been in the band since 1999's 'Jaws of Death', do what metal guitarists must do. They shred, use pinch harmonics (squeek!!!) and generally do it the heavy way. Totally solid riffage, enjoyable solos (even for a non-guitarist), total metal. Like Judas Priest at their most metal. Well, there's surely as much German metal there, believe me. Speed metal, power metal and heavy metal in one. Holy fucking trinity. The rhythm section, then. The bass first, as it is maestro Mat Sinner playing it. It is loud. It says "bang your head." And yes, Primal Fear also sounds a lot like Sinner, at least at times. But clearly this is different band, so no need to make bigger point of it. The drums by Randy Black (also known from e.g. Annihilator) are also solid with a lot of mid-paced double bass drumming. Nothing too fancy, as emphasis is clearly on "solid".
The album is more than half-filled with metal-to-the-bone anthems, but I am not complaining. 'Visions of Fate' is a bit darker, but still an anthem. 'The Healer' is the first slow song, and not a million miles from Gamma Ray's slower parts on 'Sigh no More'. And what's important, the song writing is still strong. 'Wings of Desire' is another slower one. These slower songs are more like epic songs, not ballads. The title track is a spoken piece, and very much needless. The production is fine with its clarity yet heavy and punchy sound, with loads of tasty intricacies to be heard all around the album.
The digibook's and Japanese edition's Dio-era Black Sabbath cover 'Die Young' works like hell. Led Zeppelin's song 'The Rover' can be found on the Japanese edition. There're two 5.1 mixes on the digibook ('Metal Is Forever' and 'The Healer'), but I can live without such fancy things as surround systems.
While being the first Primal Fear album I decided to review, and I haven't heard them all, I hoped I could leave more space, score-wise, for other Primal Fear albums. But well, 'Devil's Ground' is hot as... Ummm... Hell!
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2010)
Really? This is the Primal Fear album people don't like? I guess I must be hearing a completely different album...nope, this is indeed Devil's Ground, and while it isn't a great album - none of Primal Fear's albums are - it is certainly a ton of fun. The band is based around sounding like Judas Priest on crack with some slight European Power Metal influences in the mix. Ralf Scheepers' voice is pretty much like a slightly annoying Halford, with a high pitch and a razor-sharp edge added to make his egregious lilt that much more bearable. The band has always written songs with speedy tempos, heavy as fuck riffing and catchy choruses, but this album distills the things that made them kind of annoying in the past. Let's dig in.
For one, I have to say that I do enjoy the older Primal Fear albums; I just don't consider them to be really great in any sense. On one hand I really enjoy the stupid intensity of them, but on the other, they're so exuberantly over the top that it becomes tiring to listen to them after about half an album, which is par for the course for a lot of those German bands like Paragon, Grave Digger and the likes anyway. Every song was teeming with throat-cutting riffs and high-pitched wailing so over the top that I'm surprised nobody ever contracted artery problems from it. It was very energetic music, and it worked, but it was just a little annoying at times. Devil's Ground, their fifth full length player, still has a few of those problems, but the thing is that they're downplayed here for a more concise, hard hitting sound. I really like the production on here, as while it might not be as pristine as Black Sun's, it is a lot heavier, and the crunch of the rhythm guitars is very warm and full, giving the whole album a darker feel. Now, that darker feel is contested a bit by Ralf's comically goofy vocals, but not too much, and it's not as bad as on Nuclear Fire for instance. There are a few points, as on "Sacred Illusion" or opener "Metal Is Forever" when he crosses the line from sounding proud to sounding silly, but it doesn't really hamper the visceral, pounding effect of the songwriting.
Oh, the songwriting is quite glorious at times..."Metal Is Forever" will kick your ass, and this is just heightened by the supremely catchy hooks of "Suicide and Mania," which sounds as mean and attitude filled as the toughest brawlers on the streets, and then the rather apocalyptic flavored "Visions of Fate," with its haunting vocal intonations and dark musical motif. "Sea of Flames" rips through the speakers with a heightened intensity, and "The Healer" is a surprisingly subtle ballad from this band, gloomy and foreboding. That huge, flailing chorus is a bit much...doesn't bother me too much, but I wouldn't lie and tell you it couldn't be better. It's pretty much a straight shot from there on out. "Colony 13," "Heart of a Brave"...all good songs, with driving, simple riffs and just the right touches of aggression and charisma to keep me listening. The riffing on here isn't always as fast as the old stuff, but I like it a lot for it's simplicity and the punchy oomph it carries. Keys are used for varying effects, adding some pinches of atmosphere here and there that give Devil's Ground a little more depth than is usual for the band - but the focus is still mostly just on ass kicking; don't get me wrong.
Really, this is a good album because it reigns in the zaniness that Primal Fear was known for and produces an album of solid, lead-iron headbangers that I can listen to any day. I know being over the top in metal is usually a good thing, but frankly, this is probably the Primal Fear album I put on the most, and the reason why is pretty much that - it simplifies the Primal Fear sound and only pulls out the wailing vocals and the screaming, high speed tempos when it needs them, rather than just laying them all out like a cheap whore like the early stuff did. The band sounds more mature and more serious as a result of it, and thus Devil's Ground is a winner. This isn't really a great album, but it's the closest thing to one that I've heard out of this band. Recommended.
It bewilders me how this band can be one of the biggest Metal acts and still get such lukewarm reviews. It seems like every PF fan thinks that "X" release was the best one, and all the others just can't measure up. Except they can never agree on which one that was. So pretty much any Primal Fear album you look up will have a bunch of reviews saying "This isn't as good as their last album blah blah blabbity blah." Bollocks.
Primal Fear have been getting better with every release. Their debut had like 2 really good songs on it, then a bunch of OK ones. And they have been upping the percentage of killers on every disc. "Black Sun" was their best to date, as it was about half great shit like "Magic Eye" and "Lightyears From Home", and about half disposable songs like "Fear" and "Mind Machine". "Devil's Ground", the band's fifth full-length, continues the trend with the most consistent songwriting the band has ever managed. Usually, on a Primal Fear CD you only get about two good songs before the first filler cut, but this one just keeps on ripping: "Suicide And Mania", "Visions Of Fate", the incredible "Sea Of Flames" – I kept waiting for the not-as-good songs to start, but they never really do. I suppose you could class "In Metal" and maybe "Wings Of Desire" as slightly below par for this CD, but they are waaaaaay better than the filler PF usually pad out their running times with. The production is thick and heavy as a wrecking ball, and Matt Sinner's leadwork is great as usual, but we really love Primal Fear for those smoking metallic crunchy riffs, and we get enough of those to load a truck. Ralph sounds as good as usual, but I do object to the constant triple-tracking and vocal effects they bury his voice under. We know he can sing, just stop with all the studio crap and let us hear him already. Still, that has always been their style, so if you can take it on other albums, this is no worse than usual.
This is complete 100% pure steel ownage, and I cannot believe the reviews for this have been so tepid. Maybe everybody thinks this is not as good as "Nuclear Fire" or "Jaws Of Death", but I think it is way better. The only thing I have to ding this for is the extremely silly title track, which is just two minutes of muttering narration about 'The Devil', which has nothing to do with anything, and is just dull. Maybe expectations for this were so high the band could not possibly have met them. I don't know. What I do know is that from any sort of reasonable perspective this is one of the very best metal albums of 2004. Not to be missed.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
I had already written a review of this album, but it was bad; I didn't really explain too well why I hate it so much, and ended up sounding like a troll. Much as I do love squatting under bridges and accosting innocent goats, such behaviour does not seem appropriate in a review of an album I genuinely revile. So here it is; take two, as it were. So it be. Or something.
Now, the sonic qualities of this album aren't actually outrageously bad - if they were, I might at least find it somewhat interesting. What we have here is slightly thrashy, perhaps even aggressive trad/power metal that blatantly takes almost all of its cues from "Painkiller" by... well, by just zis band, you know? You've got your wailing vocals courtesy of Ralf Scheepers, there's riffs and solos and melodic leads, and drums, and maybe even a bass, although that last one is baseless (HURH) speculation. Nothing you haven't heard a billion times before in every other band, ever (note: exaggeration). Now this does not lead inevitably to the Land of the Eternal Suck; it just means the band will have to try harder than ever to make something worthwhile. Cage managed it. Did Primal Fear?
Well, obviously you know the answer to this one already. Primal Fear are essentially a bunch of old geezers who've forgotten what it means to communicate true aggression or passion, and their lifeless performances urinate all over their source material like the dirty hobo who lives in my porch. Do they attempt to compensate for this with some dynamic or intricate song writing? Do they fuck. This essentially sounds like "Painkiller" with all the vitality sucked out of it, and whilst Primal Fear hit all the notes flawlessly, it ends up sounding more like metallic elevator music than the expression of fury and power it could have been. Some of the riffs are just far too similar to riffs from "Painkiller", with the notes swapped around or a couple of extra ones added; most blatantly "Sea of Flames" and "Metal is Forever", both of which utilise different riffs from "All Guns Blazing" as their basis. The worst bit about this is that they actually tried to hide it by mauling perfection into a bloated parody of itself. Nice job, guys. Nice fucking job. Then you've got the keyboard sound on "Visions of Fate", which has a suspiciously similar texture to it as the keyboard on "A Touch of Evil", and there's "The Healer", which lifts out the chorus melody from the same song and pisses around with it just enough to avoid direct plagiarism.
I've already mentioned the competent but painfully lacklustre performances here, but extra special mention must go to Ralf Scheepers. Now the guy can hit his notes, and wails in a perfectly reasonable if unspectacular fashion. However, in attempting to somehow approach the sheer, eardrum-blitzing power of Rob Halford, he decided it would be a great idea to pad out his warbling vocals by overdubbing them with a few extra layers. In his mind this was a great idea; in reality it's annoying. Look my man, your voice doesn't have one iota of the intensity of Halford, and triple-tracking yourself doesn't improve matters - it just saps the immediacy from your performance, leaving it as pale and lifeless as everything else on the record.
Oh, and the lyrics: they are, from start to finish, basic and pointless heavy metal cliche, written with all the panache of my arse. Not only that, but half of them are just plain awkward and shitty as well! Take this particularly outstanding example, from "Metal is Forever":
Excited - when you go to see a show
Your feelings arise
Committed - You became a fan forever
Knowing the words you sing all the tunes
I can still recall the shiver of embarrassment I felt when I first saw these. It almost made me ashamed to be a metal fan.
What I've said so far would put the album at around the 40% mark; just another generic, uninteresting and ball-less trad metal band. But no, it's not that simple, as I've already (briefly) alluded to. For this album is pure sacrilege. It is the logical equivalent of waltzing into the Louvre, lifting the Mona Lisa down from the wall, hacking it into bits with a pair of scissors, using the sad remnants to construct the outline of an inanely grinning smiley, and finishing off by writing "MONA LISA SMILE LOL" beneath in an ugly black permanent marker. OK, so I'm exaggerating again; after all, Primal Fear didn't literally seek out and deface Judas Priest's master tapes. But I'm sure you grasp what I'm driving at here: Primal Fear are dumping ton after ton of faeces upon one of the greatest metal albums ever recorded, and the very existence of "Devil's Ground" is an affront to... well, to everything. EVERYTHING. I know they meant well, but old cliches about roads and Hell and good intentions apply very nicely here. Gods, I hate this album.
[new review, first one written on March 20th, 2004]
Here's where Primal Fear kinda fucks up. This is the first time I can call something Primal Fear did a disappointment. Lately, I've come to much better terms with the previous 'Black Sun', so I was hoping the same would happen when I decided to spin this album for the first time in over a year - but no such luck, my opinion on this one remains the same. But I'm going to be mean and lower the score anyway.
This just doesn't seem like the next logical step to take after 'Black Sun'. That album introduced us to a more progressive and melodic side of Primal Fear (in places), so you'd think that this album would be a continuation or expansion of that - but instead, what we have here is some sort of going back to the 'Jaws of Death' sound, where you have less spectacular axe work (due to 'Nuclear Fire' and 'Black Sun' axe man Henny Wolter being out of the band on both), and simpler, more formulaic songwriting. Now remember; I still gave 'Jaws' a strong 84%, as killer riff writing and highlight songs were still abound and above 95% of all Euro-power there is to buy. By default, that wouldn't mean a particularly huge drop in score compared to the previous album...
However, someone's must've fucked up, because 'Jaws' quality this is far from. Imagine throwing in silly ideas that DO NOT WORK AT ALL on top of it, plus weaken the guitar tone and you'd get something resembling this album, maybe. It's hard to give a good general explanation, but expect things like happier, power metal-generic choruses on here, as well as a generally non-serious attitude ala the horrendous 'Hellfire Club'. Ironically, unlike 'Jaws of Death', this is actually their LEAST formulaic release to date. They throw in all sorts of funny experimental ideas everywhere, but there is little regard to actual *songwriting*; to make the final product sound good too, not just sounding experimental for the sake of pushing musical boundaries. 'Black Sun' did a more than competent job at doing that, even if at a limited scale - but what we see here is an entirely different approach to it, and an unsuccessful one at that.
For example, see opener "Metal Is Forever" - you tell me something isn't missing from previous album openers on this one. The first thing you'll notice is the flattened guitar tone, lacking in both the heavy and the sharp, but then you also have the far less punchy riffage and the dumbass "happy" vocal delivery ruining most of what's left. Come to think of it, Ralf Scheepers just keeps getting worse and worse with each album, and yet you hear more of his voice on here than ever. Not only is he mixed in louder, but you mostly hear at least three of him at the same time - the vocals on this album are more often multilayered than they are not, I'm pretty sure. Mind you, I don't have anything inherently against "happy" vocals; it just isn't quite what works best for Primal Fear, it's apparent. The vocal melodies are clearly on the less interesting side and simply of a lesser category than earlier, where the vocals were still way above average due to melody alone. Well this song isn't quite "Living for Metal"-terrible, as for songs with similar lyrical themes, but it's still just fucking uninspired, "we love heavy metal" bullshit that I'm already damn sick of in the first place.
Indeed, something's just not quite right here. Another example, take "Sea of Flames", which, in many ways, may look a whole lot like 'Painkiller'-styled smoker, as the riffs have just that lethal sound and feel. But the production is just way off; not just the guitar tone, I mean the whole thing. It lacks aggression. It doesn't rage; it doesn't kick in your face - especially not when compared to the mighty 'Painkiller' that everyone has been wanting to sound like ever since. This sounds like maybe a far less speedy and thrashy Annihilator song at best; merely "seducing" your wife, if you get my drift. Also, those awful, whiney, Arab-styled vocals - don't even make me go there. "Soulchaser" - this one is fast and thrashy in the beginning, luring one into expecting something power-thrashy such as "Fight the Fire" or "Fear" off previous albums, but no. Instead, we get a really boring semi-acoustic verse to slow things down, before building into something that is heavier, but unspectacular at best. The chorus is absolutely horrendous - imagine the screams near the end of the song "Jawbreaker" turned into an actual chorus, but with badly annoying, whinier-than-ever vocals.
"Wings of Desire" - kinda moody/mystical, not bad, but it just fucking drags. "Visions of Fate" - this one is built on a KEYBOARD riff, with the rhythm guitars doing little other than chugging along in a non-vicious Evergrey fashion. And more bad vocals are thrown our way. Ballad "The Healer" is somewhat interesting and actually a bit emotional in places, but what's with that ONE FUCKING MINUTE long chorus?? The whole song is 6.40 in length, and goes through the chorus three times - meaning, that when you're listening to it, you're hearing the chorus almost half the time. Trust me, this chorus WILL get on your nerves after a few times, and the multi-tracked-to-death vocals and annoying, repetitive cymbal crashing do little to make things any better. "Colony 13" and "Heart of a Brave" - generic fucking power metal. That is still all that needs to be said, even with the former's lethally catchy middle riff taken into account. And I mean BAD generic power metal, of the worst kind - that's a recurring problem with the entire album, actually. It superficially sounds like Primal Fear, but the guitars have lost a lot of aggression, and there is little in the way of melody to make up for anything.
Highlights...the riff after the second chorus of "Sacred Illusion". The rest of the song is entirely forgettable speed metal, containing forgettable riffs and boring, exceptionally whiney vocal lines, but here we get a fucking STOMPER of a thrash(!)-groove riff. It's a bit oddly timed and unique, making this perhaps the only successful "experimentation" on the disc. Then, the aforementioned "Soulchaser" has a fucking solo from hell - or to be more precise, that little descending part at 3.19-3.22, it's just fucking insane!! But again, the lead work on this album in general just badly pales when compared to the smoking 'Nuclear Fire'... "In metal" is perhaps the only whole song on here I can call a winner. Yes, the verse is a recycled "Dollars" and the main riff is a rip-off Autograph's "Deep End" (probably not, but do check it out - it is quite similar and the whole song is far better, too!), but this is still trademark Mat Sinner grooving we're talking about here, and it is in full fledge on this one. The "stop-go" styled chorus is a bit of miss, but the song as whole stays straightforward most of the time and does not bring on the stupidity, unlike all the others.
Oh yeah, and because it's the only remaining song on here: "Suicide and Mania" is a recycled and of course Devil's Groundified "Play to Kill". Virtually useless.
I'm just hoping this isn't an indication of what's to come. This is so far removed from what they were onto on the two preceding albums; this almost seems like a Dream Evil approach to playing throwback metal, except not nearly as well done as on the first two efforts by that band. What can I say? The upcoming album is as of this writing already written and recorded, so I can only hope that they've reloaded and refocused, because this is just fucking weak. Primal Fear's first throwaway album.
Yet another release from this often considered as a Judas Priest clone.
And with good reason: it's traditional heavy metal we got here, and the impressive vocalist Ralph Scheepers reminds us of Rob Halford as far as possible with his high pitched vocals. The band's sound pretty much brings "Painkiller" to mind.
This is unfortunately not their best effort though.
I personally loved albums like "Jaws of death" or "Nuclear fire", both had great metal songs like "Final embrace" or "Red rain" and by "great" I mean songs with pathos, drama, emotion, the things that this genre should always be able to bring out.
What is wrong then? The songs just seem pretty uninsprired.
There is nothing really strange about this album: no experimental stuff, nothing really different from the other releases when it comes to style.
This is plain and simple heavy fucking metal.
It's just not good. Even childish at times: listen to the two "metal hymns" called "Metal is forever" and "In metal" for example. Nothing wrong with this kind of songs in themselves, it's just that it's been done so many times you really expect something special to get over their cheesyness and frankly idiotic lyrics.
This album is not a complete failure, there are indeed a couple of tracks that could make your head move ("Suicide and mania" and "Visions of fate") but for the most part it just goes unnoticed into oblivion. The ballads like "The Healer" are really the most terrible thing, they just sound weak, there is no "sturm und drang" in them which is what makes the whole difference between a common ballad and a metal ballad. The band has proven before the ability to write such songs, just listen to "Iron fist in a velvet glove" for example.
It really pains me to write this because as I said, this band has delivered
some good stuff over the years and even though they sound very much like Priest calling them right out a clone would be unfair. There is potential to be found here, particularly behind the microphone but this album is not the best proof of it.
Primal Fear’s latest effort “Devil’s Ground” was highly anticipated by, well, me, and lots of other speed/power maniacs as well I’m assuming. And while this isn’t a complete waste of my precious, precious time, I’d say that this is probably the worst PF release to date. It’s the same style and structure as always, and even I’m starting to desire some more creative ideas from the band. And I’m usually fairly tolerant about lack of originality as long as there is good songwriting to back it up, but some of the songs just really reek with a lack of songwriting ideas. And the actual songs aren’t nearly as good as they were on better Primal Fear albums, such as the self-titled debut and most notably “Nuclear Fire”.
The vibe is pretty much the same uplifting, catchy thing as always with this band, but overall I’d say of their previous albums, this one is most comparable to “Jaws of Death”, with the use of and focus on very heavy riffs to drive the songs, with less melody than most of the material on, say, “Black Sun” in the driving riffs. And that was never their strongest side, as sometimes they seem to have a problem to get the songs to feel really individual enough. Thus, some of these heavy songs give a stronger “I’ve-heard-this-before-but-better” kind of vibe, most notably such songs as “Suicide And Mania”, “Sacred Illusion”, “Soulchaser” (though note the half-thrash snare-heavy drumming Randy Black does on that one. Fun shit) and to a certain extent “Heart of a Brave”.
And surprisingly, even the soloing in this album falters from time to time. The mesmerizing and inspiring lead sections they blasted out by the thousand on “Nuclear Fire” and “Black Sun” are suddenly much less powerful, even though songs like “Metal Is Forever” still manages to capture some of the energy preserved in their stronger solos.
And despite these big flaws, this album still features some pretty nice moments, and in fact some songs that do stray somewhat from the common concepts of Primal Fear’s music, even though the vers-chorus structure they use is becoming ludicrously predictable.
“Visions of Fate” for example has those pretty interesting keyboard-driven verses, and then “Wings of Desire” is a very nicely done moody song, which builds up well into a mighty chorus, which is indeed one of the most powerful moments of the album.
For the more generic songs, “Metal Is Forever”, “Sea of Flames” and “Colony 13” stand out as my favourites. The first is the classic PF metal anthem, and although the lyrics are more pathetic and laughable than inspiring and powerful, the chorus really makes you want to throw your fist in the air and scream “METAL!” Very nice. And the fun “ooh” singalong section in the middle is pretty cool too.
“Sea of Flames” has more generic heavy riffage that on it’s own doesn’t do much, but supports the verses of the song. Especially just when it kicks in- “Trapped in the heat of the sun! There’s only pain and disorder!” That’s one killer moment. But the highlight is definitely the chorus. Vintage Primal Fear singalong stuff, catchy as hell. And then “Colony 13” which as previously stated is a very happy power metal sounding track in the vein of “Nine Lives” from the first album, and while not nearly as powerful, “Colony 13” still is pretty damn fun.
Then there’re some songs that must be on any Primal Fear album- the ballad, and the groovy bass-driven tune. You get at least one of each on any release by the band.
The ballad this time is called “The Healer”, and is unusually generic even for this band, until we kick into the majestic, memorable and looooooooooooong chorus. Surprisingly good, and feels fairly unique for this band.
The bass-driven number on the album is “In Metal”, which was originally gonna be the title of the album. Now, I fucking LOVE the start of this song. A simple but insanely groovy bassline (Mat Sinner knows how to do those) with some even groovier guitar licks make for a moment that is best described as… well, groovy as all fucking hell. But then when they kick in with more distortion and focus on the guitars, this song instantly becomes very generic, although the bridge and chorus section is quite fun. Though it does pick up again towards the instrumental section with a great solo and a catchy singalong section in the vein of “Metal Is Forever”. Overall, while not great by any means, it’s still one of the best songs on here.
Though had I pick one song that stood above them all, the choice would be easy. The cover of Black Sabbath’s “Die Young”, which is available only on the digipak version. The songwriting on it is more inspired and original and way more METAL than Primal Fear can ever hope to be. Dio is king!
…Yeah. All in all, folks, this is a pretty mediocre release with scattered moments of greatness in some of the songs. Recommended for die hard fans of the band, but if you want to just get into them, get “Nuclear Fire”, definitely. While that one isn’t more original (not less original either, mind you) the songs have a glow and intensity and power that’s missing on the major part of the album. Primal Fear was never a band of mindboggling or groundbreaking songwriting, but they were honest and you could tell they were having fun. Slowly, it seems as though that spark of energy that made them so great seems to be fading.