Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 10/24/2005
posted on 12/2005 By:
I toyed with several different introductions for this review, all based around the idea that Primal Fear’s past albums have been weak and largely forgettable, until I realized something: I haven’t listened to a Primal Fear album in years. Sure, I own a couple and have heard them all at one point or another, but I guess they never struck me as something to be listened to repeatedly. Even their strongest effort, Nuclear Fire, hasn’t seen a whole lot of player time since it was first released. So who am I to critique past efforts? Then again, maybe I just did. In any case, now it’s 2005 and a new Primal Fear album is here. I must say, I am quite impressed.
Vocalist Ralf Scheepers has long worn his love for Judas Priest on his sleeve and it has always come through in his vocals, which in turn seeped into the music and downgraded it just enough to render it unspectacular. Now with the original Priest back together (more or less), it’s time for Primal Fear, Mach II. Turning tempos up a notch and employing an orchestra on several tracks could have made the band sound like just another over-the-top power metal band, but the sound fits them well and they know how to keep it in check. Right from the start, “Demons and Angels” has an energy that I’ve never heard from them, and may be the first time they have made my jaw drop since “Church of Blood” (from Jaws of Death). Nothing too fancy in the next track, “Rollercoaster”, just a tight rhythm and some good metal. “The Immortal Ones” ends up standing out with a strong opening riff and solid drumming, despite being perhaps a bit cliché lyrically. “Carniwar” is another uptempo track employing the orchestra, and I gotta say, I love the way crash cymbals and violins intermingle with the standard rock instruments. Lucky me, then, that it happens again in “Question of Honour”, at a glorious 7+ minutes, including an extended piano lead. Even the ballads “In Memory” and the title track are something you can listen to without feeling one of your testicles drop.
If not an album of the year, Seven Seals has to at least be one of the surprises of the year, as Primal Fear have tossed predictability out the window and given us their first great album in several years, and possibly their best yet.
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