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The eagles of perdition. - 84%

hells_unicorn, August 20th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Nuclear Blast Records

Primal Fear's early career can be viewed as an exercise in militaristic consistency, spending more time reaffirming existing practices going back to the latter period of Judas Priest before Halford's exodus in the mid 1990s. When looking at how stylistically similar their first four albums were to the signature style of Priest's early 90s swansong Painkiller, one might conclude that Ralf Scheepers was fulfilling his desire to be said British steel masters' helmsman without actually being in the band, save the fact that bands like Grave Digger, Paragon and Iron Savior also took to emulating the same general sound. But in 2004 there was a pretty clear break with tradition that occurred in Primal Fear's musical presentation that separated them from much of the current German speed metal pack, and it came in the form of Devil's Ground, an album that managed to both bring the band out of its former shadow a bit and alienate some of their fan base while not really changing up their formula all that much.

In essence, this is an album that differentiates itself from its predecessors through a combination of outward presentation and maybe a slightly more stripped down demeanor. It lacks most of the polished and occasionally epic characteristics that typified Nuclear Fire, as well as the more processed sound of pretty much everything they'd done up to this point, though it's pretty obvious that the 1982-1992 Judas Priest inspiration is still front and center. It has a rawer overall feel to it, particularly in the way the guitars cut through the arrangement and the way the drums are not quite as bombastic and thunderous, shaving off most of the 80s characteristics of past production work. The overall game of riffs and melody work is still pretty steeped in retro speed/power cliche, but the mixing job of all the various moving parts has a sort of modern quality that isn't all that far from where Priest went when Ripper took over vocal duties, though it should be stressed that the groove metal trappings are by no means present here.

On the exterior, despite the shift in sound quality, the largely negative reaction that this album inspired appears a bit bizarre given that much of the songwriting on here is pretty much rock solid. Up tempo cruisers like "Metal Is Forever", "Suicide And Mania" and "Soulchaser" are a bit on the simple side and point to something of a slightly more radio oriented, chorus oriented shtick that probably came off as a bit too safe compared to previous efforts, and there is an ironic "party metal" character to "Metal Is Forever" lyrically that probably turned some people off who don't go for what Hammerfall and Dream Evil usually serve up. Similarly, the slow trotting and Accept inspired "In Metal" and the coasting, near seven minute long nod to Priest's "Desert Plains" in "Wings Of Desire" are a bit more overtly derivative of Primal Fear's stylistic forerunners that usual. Nevertheless, these are contrasted with some truly spellbinding speeders with some occasional thrashing elements in "Sea Of Flames", "Sacred Illusion" and "Heart Of A Brave" that are far more aggressive than anything this band has put out to this point, and loaded with plenty of inhuman shrieks and vocal gymnastics out of Scheepers.

In spite of the generally low ranking that this album tends to receive amid Primal Fear's now fairly extensive back catalog, it's actually more of a middle of the road, stylistically transitional affair than a stylistic betrayal or an outright dud. There are even some occasional hints towards the more keyboard oriented and restrained demeanor that has since come to typify this band to this very day in the melodic and occasionally symphonic "Visions Of Fate" that point pretty strongly to the powerhouse epics that would follow suit on Seven Seals, and the album's token ballad "The Healer", in addition to having a truly triumphant chorus, also functions as a sort of humbler ancestor to the band's colossal half-ballad epics "Fighting The Darkness" and "One Night In December". It's definitely a bit of a grower compared to the more rapidly gratifying character of Nuclear Fire and Black Sun, but it is far from a complete failure, something that has never existed in Primal Fears outfit since day one, despite some slight ebbs here and there amid the steady flow.

A “less is more” approach - 74%

Bloodstone, January 21st, 2015

Kind of an unremarkable album to write about so much, but here we have it: my third review for Devil’s Ground. How many other reviewers on this site have completely rewritten any work of theirs more than once, anyway? Well, ten years having passed since my last piece on it, today eighteen year old me comes across to these eyes as pretentiously critical and contrarian for the sake of sounding like a Real Critic who of course knows his stuff and deserves your attention (dammit!), which, unbeknownst to me at the time, couldn’t be further from the truth. Axing some of my earliest efforts brings me satisfaction, and other people have covered the stuff I reviewed back then better anyway. Moreover, my opinion of this rather divisive fifth full-length from the metal eagles has changed for the positive over time (my first two reviews were mostly negative and said basically the same thing), and so yet another go at it feels more motivated. I still don’t like this album as much as Primal Fear’s first four, but these days I’m more able to get behind something as controversial as going in a direction that is not faster, screamier and more double bass-filled. After all, where could they have gone after something as over the top as Nuclear Fire and Black Sun? Those albums perfected the German power metal meets Painkiller style and took the intensity as far as possible without tripping over themselves, leaving little room to progress along the same path. Thus, a different path was probably the best course of action for a follow-up, even if the results here do end up a bit mixed.

Now that I’m past the shock of this band choosing a path of restraint, I’ve come to appreciate this album’s songwriting chops and relative variety a lot more. With a cleaner, more basic sound and less of that mega-crunch production extravagance of old there to carry things, it’s as if the band is challenging itself to make the songs do more of the talking. There’s less relying on formula and more introducing of various flavors that feel a bit different for Primal Fear. For instance, “Sacred Illusion” crackles with Randy Rhoads-esque guitar swiftness and then surprises with a hard-hitting thrash riff in the middle. The sharp-riffed “Sea of Flames” is similarly classically-inclined, the chorus having a nicely rocking feel to it reminiscent of something with Dio on vocals (there’s cover of a “Die Young” on the limited edition!). Overall, there’s more keyboard work featured throughout this album than on past works, resulting in tracks like “Visions of Fate” that show an interesting new dramatic side of the band that’s pulled off way better than something like the cornball “Tears of Rage” on their debut. This song’s melodic and atmospheric arrangements hint at the more modern power metal direction Primal Fear would go in on subsequent efforts, in which they often succeeded at this style even more. The super-anthemic “Metal Is Forever”, while more than a little dumb, boasts some of PF’s strongest riffs and a brilliantly simple chorus that’s just a blast. It’s funny, because I’ve always had an aversion to metal songs about metal, and this along with the unusually happy, basic and “lead single” feel of it made this track one of my most hated of Primal Fear’s back in the day. However, in later years I’ve found a big bread-and-butter sort of charm to its “just METAL” straightforwardness.

In contrast to the rest of the music, Ralf Scheeper’s vocals remain as high-pitched, multi-layered and in your face as ever. Unfortunately, they’re a weak point this time around, frequently coming off as a bit intrusive and annoying for some reason. Also, some songs really don’t work, such as the overly pompous ballad “The Healer” (did the chorus need to be that long?) and the Black Sun reject-sounding “Heart of a Brave”. All in all, I can’t help but to think Primal Fear sound best with everything cranked to eleven; those earliest albums will always be where it’s at as far as I’m concerned, their sheer energy striking a very special chord with me to this day. However, on its own, Devil’s Ground I definitely enjoy cranking every once in a while too. Its greater variety in some ways actually makes it play better as a full album compared to the group’s older stuff and I applaud them for expanding their sound and daring to dial down their forcefulness given they’re a metal band of an especially “true” flavor (too tough a sell for me at the time of release, certainly). On one hand slanted more towards newer European power metal compared to earlier PF and on the other hand possessing some older metal influences as well, this is all the while very much recognizable as a Primal Fear album and is well recommended for heavy/power metal fans across the board. Its accessibility makes it a good starting point if you’re looking to get into this band.

Hot-as-hell German metal! - 84%

Lane, March 3rd, 2012

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)

Good because it's not like older Primal Fear. - 87%

Empyreal, March 19th, 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.

Their Best So Far - 90%

Sargon_The_Terrible, August 12th, 2007

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

AAARGH, it's evil! Take it away! - 0%

Torwilligous, June 12th, 2007

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.

Uninspired - 45%

vigaljot, December 18th, 2004

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.

Seems less inspired. - 61%

Nightcrawler, April 26th, 2004

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.