Primal Fear - _Primal Fear_
(Nuclear Blast, 1998)
by: Alvin Wee (
I wouldn't be surprised if Nuclear Blast were to give up on black metal entirely. Following the immense success of Hammerfall, NB has finally gotten smart and cashed in on the German obsession with melodic power metal by distributing acts like Narnia and Hollow (both recommendable Swedish guitar-based prog-metal bands). The freshest addition to the NB stables comes in the form of German quartet Primal Fear. Boasting the distinctive talents of Ralf Sheepers (Gamma Ray) and Mat Sinner, this is one combo that's bound to hit the charts in Germany and Japan. Their self-titled debut is somewhat a surprise though, avoiding the usual Kai Hansen-worship (though it's inevitable the man plays guest leads here), adopting instead a more groovy/bluesy sound evocative of 80's glam rock or British hard-rock. Opener "Chainbreaker" reminds one of Deep Purple (their influence evidenced by a cover of "Speedking" later in the album) or riot, while "Dollars" could have come straight out of a Lionsheart album. Even American hard/glam rock isn't spared as Skid Row gets a tribute paid with "Running in the Dust". As you can see, this isn't your usual heap of cheesy anthems at all, in fact, the myriad of influences makes this a fascinating experience for all but the most narrow-minded of rockers. If you're worrying about the lack of Helloween-style melody, fear not, these die hard Germans haven't forgotten their roots: "Silver and Gold" and "Promised Land" deserve a place in any Helloween or Hammerfall album, and if Hammerfall's _Glory to the Brave_ can make it to the charts, I don't see why the latter track can't.
(article published 4/13/1998)
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