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It is what it is, and nothing more - 60%

doomknocker, February 2nd, 2012

Primal Fear is a bit of an oddity for me…on the one hand, as a group they can be worth their weight in tight leather pants as their previous outings have been rather entertaining at best and harmless at worse, but on the other hand, you’d think that for all he attention they’d enjoyed the end results would have more to offer, and I’m afraid that as a result I’ve found my attention lacking when facing their general direction. Try as I might, I ended up enjoying what they had, but didn’t find it all to be as filling as other groups of their ilk champion with the best of them. Still, since we all know that time tempers and erodes even the mightiest of roadblocks, and for all I know, Primal Fear could have what it took to make a truly grand recording.

With that said, let’s find out how they’ve faired with “Unbreakable”…

One thing one can count on with Primal Fear no matter which album or year of existence; their ability to craft tasty, damn-near pretty melodies to augment the central riff work. And with “Unbreakable”, those musical ideas are in full swing. The way everything is played is done so with a slightly unstable energy generated by a group of individuals who aren’t here to fuck around and would rather tell it like it is, bouts of staying power be damned! That in and of itself is rather fine to deal with; in spite of my musical tastes heading towards more majestic and long-reaching acts, I know that this is the kind of thing you’d want to go for if all you want is metal for the sake of metal, if you just want pure guitars, solos, traditional arrangements and raging vocals. And should that be the case, “Unbreakable” will more than satisfy in that regard.

The almighty riff is key to a Primal Fear anthem, and there’s no shortage of them in “Unbreakable”. The no-nonsense performance has that simpler appeal that could very well make them easier to take in and ingest within the more “regular” crowd, and the interplay between the taut and tight rhythm section, the more flowery leads and solos, and Mr. Scheepers’ stratospheric Halfordisms and wild abandon choirs (ALWAYS during the choruses…ALWAYS) makes the whole affair a grand listen through and through. However, if one is looking for depth and/or wholly enveloping songwriting, one may be pretty disappointed, as there’s really nothing more to the riffs and harmonics than the riffs and harmonics themselves. It’s all well and good for a first few listens, but the flatness of it leaves a bit to be desired, leaving each track as a simple song than a full-on opus. Maybe that’s not the point to the band’s continued existence, and I could just be looking too much into it. After all, sometimes you just wanna rock, and the likes of “Give Em Hell”, “And There Was Silence” and “Where Angels Die” do the rockin’ for ya.

In the end, this new Primal Fear is what it is, and not much more, but there’s nothing really wrong with that. Those looking for a band to jam and have you jam along with them will find plenty to enjoy with this. Those looking for something more to their music will be left a bit hungry and wanting more.

Originally written for "The Offering"