“Metal Commando”

By Dr. Abner Mality

PRIMAL FEAR is back on Nuclear Blast after a few years flirtation with Frontiers Records. That’s about all that is different about “Metal Commando”. Now PRIMAL FEAR is one of those bands you never want to deviate too greatly from their core sound. That doesn’t necessarily mean you keep churning out the same songs with different titles. There is a way to shake things up while staying true.

The one major attempt to be a little different here is the 13 minute plus epic “Infinity”, which puts PRIMAL FEAR in territory its never been before. Honestly, this song would have been better off at 8 or 9 minutes. The piano digressions are a bit new, but this is the band trying to do one of those long IRON MAIDEN tracks the Englishmen have done in the last 20 years or so. It’s not a bad song at all, just stretched past its optimum length.

The rest of the album is 100% the tunes PRIMAL FEAR fans have come to expect. Gotta say, Ralf Scheepers has not lost his ability to amaze. Just hear him soar on “I Am Alive” and “Hear Me Calling”...a great vocalist, no question. The rest of the album I would kind of put in the middle of the pack of PM records. Stuff like “Raise Your Fists” and “Afterlife” many times have we heard tracks like these? Doesn’t even sound like they are trying that hard. A better bet is the rollicking “Along Came The Devil” and thunderous “Howl of The Banshee”...sure, these are also familiar but it sounds like they really MEAN IT on these.

The production on this is as good as any metal album you’re going to hear...shiny as the chrome on a new Harley. I always enjoy the PRIEST-influenced metal of PRIMAL FEAR, but “Metal Commando” is kind of treading water for them.