Reviewed: December 1998
Released: 1998, Nuclear Blast
With all the positive press Primal Fear had been receiving, I finally indulged my curiosity and bought their self-titled debut CD. Not having heard anything from the disc, I really didn’t know what to expect. Whether the metal press had misled me or I just somehow managed to corrupt my own expectations (Ralf Scheepers’ appearance on the Judas Priest tribute album didn’t exactly help.), I have to admit that I was rather disappointed when I first listened to it.
My first reaction was “My God I paid $30 for this?” (The Canadian dollar isn’t worth sh*t, folks.) It wasn’t that I didn’t like what I’d heard… It just wasn’t what I had expected. I guess I was expecting something more akin to Judas Priest’s “Stained Class” (Again, Scheepers’ appearance on the Priest tribute didn’t help… He covered “Exciter”, for God’s sake!!!). Anyway, once I got over my initial disappointment, I decided to give it another listen (I felt obligated to do so at the thought of being out $30).
Well, after a few more spins it really started to grow on me (actually, it turned out to be quite addictive). Songs like “Chainbreaker” and “Silver and Gold” with their double-bass fueled rhythm tracks, harmonized guitar solos (only one guitar player… go figure), and catchy melodies, ought to be enough to grab the attention of any power metal fan. Add Ralf Scheepers’ soaring vocals to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a pretty impressive package.
Not every song on the CD is a winner though… “Dollars” isn’t a bad song, but sounds like a throwback to the L.A. scene of ten or twelve years ago. The cover of Deep Purple’s “Speedking” (featuring Kai Hansen), while good, seems out of place. And “Nine Lives” is…well…just plain cheesy.
In short, Primal Fear’s debut is a solid effort from a fine power metal outfit that has the potential to develop into something great. I for one certainly hope that they stay around long enough to actually do so.
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