Enigmatic producer and Ocean Grove OG Running Touch has just dropped a brand-new single Signs …
As their German contemporaries Helloween and Gamma Ray have wavered in quality and direction and now basically morphed into one band, and Iron Savior continue to release albums no one seems to care much about, Primal Fear have steered a remarkably true course through the last twenty years.
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Every single one of their albums has followed the recipe of blending European power metal from the 90s with the sound of Judas Priest’s Painkiller – the most significant template for the band’s style – and Metal Commando is no different.
Primal Fear’s three-way guitar attack provides sufficient crunch to their usual hard-as-nails chugging, with Ralf Scheepers’ gravelly tones adding a classic Accept-ish feel to some tracks while he unleashes a Ripper Owens-like power wail in others. The drumming is precise, the solos towering, the metal as metal as can be.
Primal Fear’s three-way guitar attack provides sufficient crunch to their usual hard-as-nails chugging.
That is the real issue with Metal Commando. Right down to its title, every aspect of this is Primal Fear in their self-appropriated generic nutshell. The pure devotion to their singular classic metallic muse gives them little room to manoeuvre beyond the usual headbanging, fist-pumping and self-referential cliches they crowd each of their albums with – songs about demons, songs about metal, a particularly cheesy one about punching on – all with classic metal’s usual soaring, uplifting spirit but with literally zero surprises. While consistency is an admirable facet for any artist, there’s a difference between consistency and endlessly repeating oneself.
There is nothing here that we haven’t heard from Primal Fear twelve times already. Metal Commando is as good as any of their other albums – it may even be better than some like Rulebreaker and Devil’s Ground – but it could also be any of them, and if you like nothing better than classic heavy metal, that’s probably exactly what you want.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Infinity, My Name is Fear, Afterlife
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Judas Priest, Accept, Helloween