Released: 2011, Frontiers Records
Primal Fear vocalist Ralf Scheepers needs no introduction; the man has been flawlessly belting out heavy metal since the early ‘80s (!) and continues to do so right up to the present (Primal Fear’s last album was stellar!). However, the self-titled SCHEEPERS album is his first kick at the solo artist can, but he’s not alone – he’s brought a veritable army of friends to help him out – PF band mates Mat Sinner and Magnus Karlsson, metal man about town Snowy Shaw, Ripper Owens, Victor Smolski, Mike Chlasciak, and more. With talent like that on board, even the most ardent PF-hater had to be curious, right?
Right from the opening blast of “Locked in the Dungeon”, two things become clear: 1) Scheepers remains one of the greatest singers in metal, and 2) the album won’t be straying too far from the style the man is known for. In fact, a good three quarters of the album could fit easily onto a Primal Fear album – to the extent that you almost wonder what the point of this “solo” effort is (it’s clear that Sinner and Karlsson have written much of this thing). Regardless, much of the album is high-quality stuff, from the “ripping” duet with Owens, “Remission of Sin”, to the two brooding tracks, “The Pain of the Accused” and “The Fall”, both of which show Scheepers’ charisma as a vocalist.
That being said, there is a fair bit of filler here as tracks like “Dynasty”, “Back on the Track” and the Sinner-esque “Saints of Rock” just don’t connect. “Compassion” is a faceless acoustic tune, and the cover of Judas Priest’s “Before the Dawn” is surprisingly dull and heartless considering Scheepers’ love of the band.
Basically SCHEEPERS delivers exactly what you’d expect – solid heavy metal with superb vocals. There’s nothing on the here that will blow you away, but if you’re a fan of Primal Fear and/or Ralf Scheepers, or simply looking for 40 minutes of dependable heavy metal goodness, this album delivers.