Review Summary: “Unbreakable” is a rather appropriate way to describe this album, as this is Ralf Scheepers’s best album in his entire career.Primal Fear
, one of the many German Power Metal bands, had a turbulent career leading up to their 9th album. Though Nuclear Fire
, Seven Seals
, and Black Sun
have been great listens, they also had numerous albums that failed to hit the mark like Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
. Skeptics may have shot down this album before it was even released, though Ralf Scheepers and his fellow band mates were prepared to make an incredible album. As a result, their most-recent album, titled Unbreakable
, might just be their best work yet, with more creativity, diversity, and great musicianship compared to any of their previous works.
The album’s somewhat long duration of 12 tracks is not offset by stagnation at all. Each song offers something completely new to the table, and, while it may seem like it comes close to generic Power Metal, it offers enough twists to avoid the clichés. The somewhat long “Unbreakable Pt. 2” is a remarkable representation of this; containing heavy verse riffs which are complimented by Scheepers’s Halford-like screech. The instrumentation is standard Power Metal; the guitars take a higher role compared to the bassist and drums and provide efficient riffs that work together with everything else presented. The chorus is infectious, containing some of Primal Fear’s
best vocal melodies since “Nuclear Fire” or “Final Embrace;” presenting why Scheepers is one of metal’s most underrated and overlooked singers. His howling voice is second to none in the business; even overpowering his influence Rob Halford in skill and power in his voice.
As for other songs, the album contains just about everything you would want from a Power Metal album. Power Metal anthems like “Strike,” “Bad Guys Wear Black,” and “Give ‘Em Hell” will all cover your hunger for adrenaline-pumping Power Metal; but also with the catchy choruses known from the genre. The album also contains a few longer tracks, such as “Where Angels Die” and the aforementioned title track; providing very creative and exciting lengthy songs that will make any Power Metal fan smile. “Born Again” is an instance of a serviceable Power Metal ballad, and still works well because of good songwriting and Scheepers’s singing.
In fact, the only issue I could say is that the album comes close to being generic Power Metal, as the guitar playing is sometimes derivative of bands like Judas Priest
or Iron Maiden
. Many of these riffs are pretty standard metal, taking a bit away from the product. However, the problems are usually avoided by creating contagious melodies that stand out amongst competitors and their own discography. It is really surprising to note how much Primal Fear has grown from being Judas Priest
clones; transforming to explore the genre of Power Metal to create an album that transcends the influences that they were based from.
This entire album culminates into a good example of pure Power Metal. Throughout the 12 songs on the album, the listening experience stays consistent with great performances and writing. The moderately heavy riffs perfectly compliment singer Ralf Scheepers, and his performances are some of the best among the large quantity of Power Metal bands. I commend these men for creating such a glorious effort; creating a somewhat dark and enjoyable album for many listeners.