By Dr. Abner Mality

10 albums in and Primal Fear continue to stay true to what got them going in the first place: pure heavy metal ala Judas Priest. The title of the latest album is ironic, because they stick to what brought them to the dance. You won’t get much experimentation here…with one notable exception.

There’s a fair amount of variation in speed here, but most tracks are rooted in the chugging, anthemic part of the Primal Fear catalogue. Think of Priest in the “British Steel” to “Defenders of the Faith” era.  “Angels of Mercy”,  “The End Is Near”, “The Devil In Me” and the title track are designed more for pumping fists and banging heads tham brutality in the moshpit. The voice of Ralf Scheepers has always been the anchor for PF and he doesn’t disappoint a bit here. There’s some real high pitched screaming on “Raving Mad” but the tone is generally moderate. He handles the enormous chorus on the ballad “The Sky is Burning” without a fault. That is heavy metal that can appeal to AOR fans.

The one big chance the guys take here is the ten minute plus tune “We Walk Without Fear”, which is fully orchestrated and arranged almost in a Blind Guardian kind of way. To their credit, the song doesn’t drag too much and feels like it lasts less than it does. I wouldn’t make this kind of stuff a staple, though.

“Rulebreaker” is not the greatest Primal Fear album, that I can say without hesitation, but it is Primal Fear doing what they do best and not dropping the energy level an atom. When you can sound this jacked up ten albums in, you really love what you’re doing.