Friday 13th in Cologne... Not a movie premier, but a pre-listening party for the European metal press. We were invited to get a first impression of the new Primal Fear album 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead). The whole band was there and they were as curious as the journalist, just for a different reason. Before we all got a chance to listen to the new album it was time to do a few photos of the guys in front of the Underground. Then we gathered in a room next to the bar, the lights got dimmed and it was time to let the music do the talking!
The bombastic intro Before The Devil Knows You're Dead lead into the album, everybody was excited to hear more. With Riding The Eagle they soon hooked us up, the staccato riffing and the melodic hook made it easy to get into this up-tempo tune. A good start, but with Six Times Dead (16.6) they deliver a real metal hymn! A heavy groove and Halford-ish vocals - and the chorus is catchy, sounding a bit like a Bloodhound Gang tune... Anyway, no surprise that they made a video for this one!
Black Rain has an Oriental touch - is this a sitar? - and an unusual rhythmic pattern, acoustic guitar and emotional vocals, but then they speed up and the track becomes an up-tempo balladesque tune. After a mid-paced opening they push down the accelerator again at Under The Radar. Even if this one is based in sharp riffs and fast drumming the song has a 70's rock feeling. Randy Black opens up 5.0 / Torn with thunderous drums, spheric guitars and majestic vocals... "Is there a future? Is there not? We never loose our courage!" And it seems there is a future for Primal Fear, coz so far the songs are very good and if the rest of the albums aren't fillers, then this is a real masterpiece!
The song Soar surprised with an industrial edge, but the melodic - and partly aggressive - vocals hook you up. "Spread your wings and soar!"
A fast heavy rocker with a stomping beat is Killbound which also offers a dual lead part and vocals varying from deep passages to high-pitched vocals. During the chorus the guitars echo the main melody line. Cool idea! A melodic tune with a slightly bombastic opening is No Smoke Without Fire, the anthem-like chorus and a neo-classical solo part. More fast tracks with different elements you get with Night After Night and Smith & Wesson, the later one with a heavy groove and mighty background choir. The Exorcist is an up-tempo one with an 80's metal touch and high-pitched vocals, but a real surprise is the closer Hands Of Time! A balladesque tune with acoustic guitar and intense vocals, but then they add power and it becomes a powerful balladesque melodic rocker. Something I haven't expected from Primal Fear, but a nice surprise!
To listen one time isn't enough to really make up your mind about an album, but the first impression is that Primal Fear deliver a very strong album. It seems that it was a good decision to hook up with Magnus Karlsson, the new Primal Fear album offers a lot different sounds and elements, but still every song sounds like Primal Fear.
Afterwards the band was ready to answer a few questions and then we got the chance to watch the video clip for Six Times Dead (16.6). The first question was about the album title... Mainman Mat Sinner stated "It's not from the Bible, it's not Randy Black's birthday. Everybody should think about it... We will do some kind of raffle when the album comes out, to see who comes out with the right answer!" Well, it's no surprise that they keep the mystery for a bit longer. The first impression is that the album is a mix of traditional Primal Fear and the new Primal Fear... Ralf Scheepers explained: "Henny is back and he was responsible for some stuff on Nuclear Fire. And Magnus contributions add variety to our songs." Mat continued "We tried to make it the most interesting album we can. In the end the album was a challenge for us - to write it, to perform it to record it. We put in a lot. It was a musical challenge." The last question the band had to answer was about Black Rain... And it this Oriental touch wasn't overdone lately? As Magnus Karlsson was responsible for it, he answered "I like the Eastern sounding and I don't care, if other bands did it before. I like the vibe, so why shouldn't we do it?" There were no more questions, I guess we all needed time to let it sink in - the questions we'll have later after a few more spins!
The video clip for Six Times Dead (16.6) is partly black&white and with a lot flames... But you can check it out yourself soon, coz the band makes it available on their MySpace on May 8th. So check it out at www.myspace.com/primalfearofficial !