By Colonel Angus

It has been two years since 'Rulebreaker" so naturally it is time for another Primal Fear album.  Since forming in 1997, the band has been pretty prolific and has managed to release eleven records, this one being their twelfth.  I have heard that the guys get some flak for basically taking the Judas Priest "Painkiller" template and running with it, but I have to say, they have managed to come up with their own sound.  In fact, since Unbreakable, they have been firing on all cylinders and putting out material that has a Primal Fear “sound”.  I won’t lie to you, they almost fall into that category now of AC/DC and Motorhead where you know what you’re going to get even before you play the new disk.  Not that that is a bad thing; there is comfort in familiarity so I’m more than happy to continue receiving their brand of power metal.  The one thing that I will always say is that when they distance themselves from songs like new opening track “New Rise”, they manage to show more of their own true colors.  That track, to my ears, has more of a generic power metal sound which makes the rest of the tracks stand out (in a good way).  “King of Madness”, “Hounds of Justice” and “Eye of the Storm” are all great metal tunes that possess a catchy groove that Primal Fear seems to perform effortlessly.  Even a track like “The Ritual” which contains some new metal (not Nu Metal) guitar sounds still has that unmistakable Primal Fear sound.  If you’re looking for one track that really stand out from the pack, look no further than “Supernova”.  The orchestral elements add a lot to the overall feel of the tune and I would have had it as the closing track on the disk.  Instead, it is in the middle and while a good song is a good song no matter where it falls on the record, I think the flow of the entire album would have benefitted from having it close 'Apocalypse'.

The band consists of the same guys who created 2012’s "Rulebreaker' making for additional continuity between albums.  While I think all the guys are great players, the star of this show (at least for me) has always been Ralf Scheepers. As the band progressed, Scheepers has continued to show that he is more than just a Rob Halford clone.  In fact, the band as a whole has moved on from sounding a lot like Judas Priest to a band that is influenced by them.  They wear that influence proudly but they have also added their own elements to create their own sound.  Aside from “New Rise”, which isn’t a bad tune, just not that original sounding, the rest of 'Apocalypse" is quality Primal Fear material.  If you’re a fan of theirs, you won’t be disappointed but if you’re new to these guys, this record is a great place to start.