Long-running German power metal outfit Primal Fear have returned with their 13th proper album Metal Commando. Fronted by the powerful Ralf Scheepers, who once had tried out for Judas Priest before during their transitional period and after he left fellow countrymen Gamma Ray.
With Primal Fear you always hear excellent soaring vocals and the kind of heavy/power metal that Priest made popular with Painkiller in 1990. The band also introduces us to new drummer and current member of Gamma Ray Michael Ehre. So how does the newest disc hold up?
Kicking things off is “I Am Alive” a lively, fast paced number with plenty of pinch harmonics and soaring Halford-esque vocals and enough gleaming chrome and leather than you can shake a stick at. Follow that up with “Along Came the Devil” detailing the band’s formation and embrace of the sounds of heavy metal; sheer heavy metal for heavy metal’s sake.
There are lots of moments that will keep fists in the air as is the norm for European power/heavy metal bands and “Raise Your Fists” is about as on the nose as that gets. The song slows to allow Scheepers to take control and as it progressively gains more traction the entire unit takes shape and transports you to an open-air venue in Europe for maximum effect.
Primal Fear have been putting out quality heavy metal for over 20 years and Metal Commando is exactly that, quality. The familiar formula is what makes Primal Fear work within their well-established framework, no buyer beware, this is the very same Primal Fear you have grown to know over time.
If you are looking for a solid slab of European power metal in 2020, consider Metal Commando to do more than satisfy that hunger. This is a fun album for fans of old and a hook-laden, soaring vocal testament to their longstanding career.
(released July 24 on Nuclear Blast)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Watch Primal Fear – “I Am Alive” Video