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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Primal Fear

Unbreakable

Review by Gary Hill

If there’s a problem with Primal Fear it’s their reliance on clichéd lyrics and song titles. Sure, lots of people have over the years pointed out their Judas Priest like sound as a criticism, calling them derivative, but they’ve stretched pretty far beyond those roots, these days. The thing is, even with clichéd lyrics and titles, these guys make it work. They seem to have a knack for combining killer guitar parts with accessible metal hooks. It means they don’t seem capable of producing a weak album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Unbreakable (Part1)

This is a symphonic metal introduction. It’s got all the pomp and fanfare that you’d expect from that description.

Strike
Unleash the fury and “Strike!” This is a killer old school metal tune. It has some Motley Crue in the mix, but also Judas Priest. It’s a number that’s extremely catchy and extremely effective. There’s a killer dual melodic lead guitar solo.
Give 'Em Hell
Other than the vocals, this feels like it might be some long lost Judas Priest song. In some ways, I’m reminded of the Hell Bent For Leather album, but it also makes me think of Halford’s solo career. And while the vocals don’t always remind me of Priest, there are times where it feels like a dead ringer. Whatever you call this, though, it’s got an infectious chorus and just plain rocks. There’s some pretty stellar guitar soloing in place here.
Bad Guys Wear Black
The clichéd chorus line of “Bang your head” must be mentioned. How many metal songs have used that line? The thing is, these guys can take something that trite and make it work. They are all about catchy metal hooks and killer guitar soloing, and that’s what we get here. This is sort of a more meaty version of 1980s metal and it’s strong, but not up to some of the other material here.
And There Was Silence
This screams out of the gate. It’s a scorcher. A lot of this track feels quite like Judas Priest, but the chorus has more of a European epic metal sound.
Metal Nation
More high energy metal is delivered here. It’s not that different from the rest of what we’ve heard to this point, but it’s still a strong tune.
Where Angels Die
A melodic, but still crunchy, metal sound opens this. After the introduction it drops to a mellower movement for the first vocals. They still inject metal into sections and it powers out to a soaring melodic metal romp later.
Unbreakable (Part 2)
Here we have another powerhouse metal tune. It’s a bit in the “by the numbers” department, but still a good piece.
Marching Again
While this is less accessible than some of the other music, it’s also a lot meatier. It’s a scorching hot metal track that’s got a lot of epic metal in the mix, but it also borders on thrash at times. They take it out towards symphonic epic metal later. It’s one of the most “different” and interesting songs on show.
Born Again
The verse sections here feel like one of the recent Judas Priest ballads. The choruses turn more towards epic metal. Whatever the balance, this is a powerful tune that brings some variety to the disc. It’s one of the best songs here.
Blaze Of Glory
Based on a killer metal riff, this is another cool tune. Of course, it’s also another example of Primal Fear’s addiction to over-used titles and phrases. As good as this is, though, it doesn’t really matter.
Conviction
This comes screaming in, and the vocals join with a decidedly Halford-like scream. It’s a tune that’s a lot like Judas Priest. While this is the most directly derivative cut here, it’s also one of the best. This thing really rocks.
Night Of The Jumps (Bonus Track)
Somehow this reminds me more of Krokus or Saxon than it does of Judas Priest, but there are some hints of the Priest here. It’s a fun cut, but I can see why it’s a bonus track. I think that “Conviction” would have made a better closer than this does.
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