Heavy metal dominated the ’80s, and eventually morphed and splintered off into various, less popular subgenres. However, there are still bands like Primal Fear consistently releasing new material that’s faithful to the signature ’80s heavy metal sound. Their new album, Rulebreaker, is no exception; it’s heavy, relatively quick, has catchy choruses and may revive some old neck injuries due to headbanging.
Rulebreaker starts off with a bang by opening up with Angels Of Mercy and keeps the pace moving with The End Is Near (worry not, there’s nine more songs afterward). The only time the record stumbles is with the slower paced songs, like the title track and The Devil In Me. The record is paced brilliantly with each slower song being followed by quicker song. Not only does this prevent songs from sounding too similar, but the low points of the album are spread out, but don’t drag the whole package down.
With that said, Primal Fear is at their best when their tempo is fast. Their instruments are all par for the course as far as heavy metal is concerned, so the quicker the better. The slower songs aren’t bad, but when the focus is shifted away from the music, the cheesiness of their lyrics come to light.
Lead vocalist Ralf Scheepers is where Rulebreaker truly shines. Songs like Constant Heart and Raving Mad showcase his outstanding vocal range. There are even times when he sounds like Megadeth and Judas Priest. The vocals and instruments compliment each other nicely enough to overlook the simple lyrics. While not the most thought out, their simplicity makes for some undeniably catch tunes, like In Metal We Trust.
The album does feel a bit conservative, and some of the guitar riffs sound a little too similar, but these complaints are minor in the grand scheme of things. The grand scheme being how good Rulebreaker is. Any old school heavy metal fans will enjoy this album to some degree. It may have some flaws, but for the most part, it brings back the qualities that made the heavy metal genre king more than 30 years ago.
Website – http://www.primalfear.de/home/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PrimalFearOfficial/
The End Is Near music video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLRjJQCqCeo