It’s been said many times across history that consistency is key. When it comes to the music business consistency can be a very hard thing to find, certain artists will chase the latest trends in an attempt to bolster sales. other artists change direction just so they don’t become bored with their own music. Some artists just seem to lose the magic that made them special, and over time it just ebbs away.
That’s why when a band can create the same style of music for well over 20 years and create a catalogue of consistently strong albums, it should be celebrated. Primal fear is one of those bands whose legacy is built on great music year after year. They are back with their thirteenth album ‘Metal Commando’ and it comes with a switch of record labels back to their original home of Nuclear Blast. This switch seems to have increased the advertising and push behind the band and maybe contributed to a real positive feel across the album. Even with the pre-release advertising you just got the feeling this was going to be another great album to add to the ever-growing list that Primal Fear and Nuclear Blast have produced.
Album opener ‘I Am Alive’ is your standard opening banger, great power metal legato melody line followed by a storming speed metal riff that brings you to a mid-tempo, sing-along chorus. Classic Primal Fear.
‘Along Came the Devil’ sounds like Primal Fear creating an Accept song. It has that AC/DC on speed feel in the beginning, before opening out into a more traditional chorus. Good track but I think the song would suit Accept more.
‘Halo’ is straight-up euro power metal with a very smooth feel and a great chorus, can see this going down great near the end of a live set, very uplifting and fantastic guitar work.
‘Hear Me Calling’ is a mid temp ‘80s rocker disguised behind heavy speed metal production. vocally Ralph has a whispered delivery in the verses, it’s not my favourite tone I have heard his mighty voice do, but it’s nice to hear something slightly different.
‘Lost and Forgotten’ sounds like a lost track from Judas Priests’ Jugulator album, slightly industrial riff under soaring screeching vocals, a nice change-up mid-album.
The galloping double bass of ‘My Name is Fear’ is reminiscent of Rhapsody of Fire, that is until the molten speed metal riffs kick in. I feel like this track is a bit of a dark horse and will become more loved the longer time goes on – it combines speed, euro power, and modern metals very well, pure alchemy from the boys.
‘I Will Be Gone’ is your obligatory ballad, very ‘80s, lovely production on the guitar tone but a bit forgettable for me personally.
A brilliantly ‘80s sounding riff on ‘Raise Your Fists’ lifts the album again and works beautifully with Ralph’s aggressive vocals, in the mould of the classic Chainbreaker but more ‘80s……which I love.
‘Howl Of The Banshee’ definitely isn’t filler, but there isn’t anything that really elevates this song to the levels of the other tracks on this album. Pretty standard fare for Primal Fear.
‘Afterlife’ opens with an exciting and stellar riff with some pounding drum work, though the double bass does sound a bit flat from a production standpoint. This song has some modern thrash elements and twists that really make it a great listen.
‘Infinity’ really is a changeup and ends the album on a very likeable 13-minute epic that has soaring choruses, neo-classical touches, but still includes the speed metal you know and love. This track is never boring and the guitar work is excellent throughout, a great way to end this album.
Many people may see this as ‘just another Primal Fear album’ well I’m very happy to listen to ‘just another album’ from these Germanic titans and I will be listening to ‘Metal Commando’ until the next ‘just another Primal fear album’ drops. Excellent stuff.