Primal Fear – ‘Apocalypse’ album review

Band: Primal Fear
Album: Apocalypse
Release Date: 10th August, 2018
Label: Frontiers Music



Review by Sean

If you’re a fan of heavy metal you have heard the name Primal Fear before, even if you haven’t heard any of their music. The heavy metal giants from Germany are back again with another barnstormer of an album that’s here to wake us all up from the Summer heat killing us all.

What strikes me from the off is that the band are setting out to slay with this one. It kicks off with the title track, ‘Apocalypse’, a choral melody slowly fading out for some truly evil sounding guitar riffage that crashes at full speed into following track ‘New Rise’. That particular track is a clear stand-out for me, it’s frenetic, it’s glorious, it’s everything you love about Primal Fear. They’ve brought their A game for this one, and it shows, incredibly early. Expect to hear this one out of the gate if you’re lucky enough to get to see them in the near future.

From there, we get the SLIGHTLY less frantically paced ‘The Ritual’. It’s still aggressive, still powerful as balls, but not as breakneck as the last track. This band does not know the meaning of “ballad” and looks down on you for thinking they ever would. The soloing here is on fire, and at high enough volume, so to will you be. You all know by now how much I love my guitar harmonies, and this solo having them means it’s another pick for top track.
‘King of Madness’ does slow things down a touch here. We actually get a building intro, as opposed to 100MPH from the off, and it sounds fucking excellent. It’s absolutely a track to show people who don’t know the band, and are maybe not THAT into heavier stuff. It’s honestly a little cheesy, but that just makes it all the more accessible to all. Can’t recommend it enough, my favourite on the album for sure.
‘Blood, Sweat, and Fear’, however, takes us back up to the previous speed, and a heavier, darker sound. It’s the band doing what they do best, if I’m honest. Play as ballsy as possible, take a moment to breathe, then back to the grind. Honestly, there’s a little bit of a Helloween sound to this one, and I do love when bands pay homage to their heroes in their own ways. Chunky, pounding, rifftastic.

So remember what I said earlier about ballads? Well, the band has decided they’re now the kings of the metal ballad, and have given us one in the shape of track ‘Supernova’. It starts with a piano intro, and that piano is a feature of the track proper. It’s a proper slowdown of proceedings, but it’s still no less metal, still no less angry. Every other band in metal take note; this is how you do a ballad and keep your integrity.
I love the intro to ‘Hail to the Fear’. It’s got a vaguely Maiden/Celtic sound to it, letting you know that while the track/album/band is an angry one, the band are having fun with it. It’s got a proper European Metal style beat to it, very 80s Accept.
‘Hounds of Justice’ is another highlight. I love how the guitars sound in this one, and I love how while they could just coast for the rest of the album, do something formulaic and by the numbers, they continue to play around within the “metal” tag. Adding a couple instruments here, removing them there, giving us something that never feels tired or phoned in.
To prove this, the next two tracks give us the shortest then longest times on the album, with the gloriously power metal sounding ‘The Beast’ (my Gods, that intro alone was perfect) which just makes you want to take up arms and go dragon slaying, to the eight minute long ‘Eye of the Storm’, which starts just how you’d expect an epic to. It builds, slowly, the song eventually crescendoing into the chorus. It moves about throughout, sometimes faster, sometimes more methodical, always epic. My final highlight of the album.
Not to say anything bad about ‘Cannonball’. Far from it. It’s just that EotS was an exceptional track, and if I’m honest, should have closed out the album. It does leave you feeling a little drained, like you’ve gone on a journey, so that when this track rolls around, you’re sort of just wanting it to close. Kind of like watching a band you love live. You’ve massively enjoyed the set, but now you know it’s about to end, and you can feel your feet pounding in your boots. You still enjoy it right to the last note,but you’re wary of it ending.

All in all, I loved this album. Absolutely gives me something to think about when picking a final album of the year, and I cannot recommend it enough.




Track Listing:
1. Apocalypse
2. New Rise
3. The Ritual
4. King Of Madness
5. Blood, Sweat, & Fear
6. Supernova
7. Hail To The Fear
8. Hounds Of Justice
9. The Beast
10. Eye Of The Storm
11. Cannonball


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