Released: 2009, Frontiers
Reviewer: Alan Gilkeson
I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought the first three Primal Fear albums were horrible, self indulgent, contrived, caricaturist, Heavy Metal. They went hand in hand with Hammerfall, relentlessly mimicking 80s Metal. Then quite unexpectedly they began to experiment a bit, develop their own sound, and a ton of critics began to put the band down because of it. Nothing drives me crazier than this true metal garbage and how any type of experimentation is considered a sell out.
Their last album NEW RELIGION was criticized basically because it wasn't Power Metal. What is more boring than old fashioned formulaic Power Metal? They got more technical and symphonic, did some ballady stuff, and boom! the album sucks. I just can't review that way.
16:6 (BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD) is a showcase of why Primal Fear have only gotten better over these past eleven years. Scheepers goes nuts vocally and it seems with each record he's given the opportunity to further explore his vocals, especially on "5.0/Torn" where the band goes super progressive and gives the vocals the chance to make the whole song.
There's a couple of moments where Primal Fear get a bit tacky, after all, they're still a power metal band, so they give us a ballad (though it's a nice tune) "No Smoke Without Fire", and the race car paced "Under the Radar". However, the best song on the record is a little acoustic number called "Hands of Time", so they're not just sticking us with a bunch of slavish nonsense.
With each passing record Primal Fear develop a unique sound, and for this they deserve a lot of credit because it's not an easy thing to do when confined by the boundaries of genre.