Review Summary: Apocalypse sets itself apart from immediate predecessors with its theatrical dabbling, but it does exactly what you think you will
As stock as a title like Apocalypse is, there’s still a certain weight that comes with it. An effort bearing such a moniker doesn’t need to be a dramatic cataclysm or trigger a sense of finality, but the content therein should have some sort of significance or distinction from what has been done before. When you’re a band like Primal Fear, whose modus operandi of high speed power metal has rarely wavered in two decades’ time, one tends not to worry about naming conventions all that much.
To be fair, the deliveries on Apocalypse do seem more cinematic than the last couple outings. The two-minute overture sets up an epic tone that is thoroughly delivered with the choral vocals and harmonies on “New Rise” and later revisited with the more symphonic “Supernova” and “Eye of the Storm.” “King of Madness” also stands out in this regard as the bookending buildups boast that Western aura that seems to be getting more traction lately.
Just as 2016’s Rulebreaker didn’t break that many rules, Apocalypse is pretty much business as usual for Primal Fear. The rhythms are a bit more aggressive overall and songs like “The Ritual” and “Hounds of Justice” feature some beefed up guitar snarls, but the compositions remain defined by sweeping guitar harmonies and Ralf Scheepers’ unwavering wails. Everything sounds tight and it’s obvious that the musicians are right on that line between confident and comfortable.
Going along with that, the songwriting is also very workmanlike. There is a lot of variety on board, but it’s all in preexisting parameters with little in the way of true experimentation. Songs like “Hail to the Fear” and “The Beast” pretty much write themselves, but there’s not a lot to really complain about. This is also one of the few albums that they’ve released without a true ballad, which may be enough to give it some extra props.
Apocalypse sets itself apart from immediate predecessors with its theatrical dabbling, but it does exactly what you think you will. Primal Fear is seemingly done with trying new things and would rather impress listeners by emphasizing what they are already good at. Established fans could probably rank this as one of the band’s top outings and unacquainted listeners may not go wrong in checking this one out either. I’ll still reach for Firepower before it, but Apocalyse still worth exploring.
“King of Madness”
“Hail to the Fear”
“Eye of the Storm”
Originally published at http://indymetalvault.com