Released: 2012, Frontiers Records
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly three years since Primal Fear’s last studio album (although the band has hardly been away, releasing both a live album and DVD in the meantime). I was mightily impressed with 16:6 – for me it was Primal Fear’s best album since their debut way back in 1998 (!). Like I mentioned in my review of 16:6, Primal Fear tends to be cyclical, in that if the previous album was good, the next will be crap, etc. Given that 16:6 was awesome, I was mighty concerned about this one. So what does UNBREAKABLE have in store?
After yet ANOTHER pointless intro (seriously guys, enough already!), “Strike” kicks in as you’d expect: a fast, double-bass filled Primal Fear rocker. All of the hallmarks of the band are here, no surprises. All in all, it’s a good song. I could basically just say that the rest of the album follows suit and touches all of the bases Primal Fear is known for and end it there, but, I must say that UNBREAKABLE is probably a step up from most of the band’s albums, if only because they’ve finally stayed away from their insufferable ballads (let’s just pretend that “Born Again” doesn’t exist). Just about every song is at least a mid-paced stomper, with only the moody “Where Angels Die” being slower, but rest assured it is no ballad. It all makes for a snappy, enjoyable album that you can sing along to and bang your head to.
Unfortunately, Primal Fear just can’t seem to overcome their reliance on cliché. From the total Helloween worship of “And There Was Silence” (a great song nevertheless) to the utter dependence on standard metal lyrics, Primal Fear just can’t break out of their self-imposed rut. Seriously, these guys all have to be in their ‘40s, or older; shouldn’t they be embarrassed to be writing things like “Bad Guys Wear Black” and “Metal Nation”?
Whatever, man; Primal Fear is pretty much the ultimate “get what you expected” band, and UNBREAKABLE delivers exactly that. It won’t change your mind about the band, but if you buy into what these guys have been selling for 14 years, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.