Nuclear Blast Records
FFO: Judas Priest, Accept, Rage, Scheepers, Halford, Grave Digger
Since their formation over 20 years ago, Primal Fear have released a regular output of consistently good classic heavy metal that has encroaching into touching upon both speed and power metal. In recent years, Primal Fear’s dues seem to have started coming to fruition with mainstream attention being grabbed for ‘Rulebreaker’ and ‘Apocalypse’ with this year seeing Germany’s finest returning for their thirteenth studio album ‘Metal Commando’.
There is an expectation of what to expect from Primal Fear, Ralf Scheepers is one of metal’s premier vocalists whilst Mat Sinner may just be one of metals most underrated songwriters and with ‘Metal Commando’ the pair strike hard once more. Tracks such as ‘Along Came the Devil’, ‘The Howl of the Banshee’ and ‘The Lost & The Forgotten’ are classic Primal Fear demonstrating that when it comes to heavy metal, Primal Fear have lost none of their bite. However, there are a few oddities dug in amongst this album; ‘Hear Me Calling’ and ‘I Will Be Gone’ show Primal Fear touching upon the rock ballad and whilst this is no vocal challenge for Scheepers, it does feel out of the realm of what Primal Fear are usually about and offers the question whether Primal Fear are attempting to maybe capitalise upon an older generation of fans who may have missed them in the last 20 years. Furthermore, Primal Fear are strangers to the longer track and ‘Metal Commando’ ends on a 13 minute epic that can initially be a struggle to take in, but much like the rest of the album, its endearment grows and becomes much more palatable than those ballads.
‘Metal Commando’ may be slightly anti-climactic after the previous excellent albums, but that does not make it any less listenable and once again Primal Fear have delivered an enjoyable album of heavy metal anthems that can easily stand in amongst their catalogue.