Hot off the Press

Primal Fear | Unbreakable

by Justin Gaines
Staff Writer —

Easily one of the most highly anticipated power metal releases of 2011 (or 2012, depending on the release schedule in your part of the world), Unbreakable is the ninth studio album from German power metal veterans Primal Fear. In the past few years – specifically since the release of their amazing 2007 album New Religion – Primal Fear has vaulted into the top tier of active power metal bands, and where we used to know exactly what to expect from the band, it was starting to seem like the sky is the limit. Adding to the already high expectations is the fact that both Alex Beyrodt and Magnus Karlsson are now on guitars, and Eric Martenssen (Eclipse) and Oliver Hartmann (ex-At Vance) lend a hand on backing vocals.

With Unbreakable, the band comes back to Earth, at least a little bit. Primal Fear toured relentlessly in support of New Religion and 16:6 – Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and was apparently inspired by the crowds’ reaction to their older material. So instead of the more aggressive, more epic sound of the last two albums, Unbreakable goes back to the tried and true formula of the first 5-6 (your mileage from Seven Seals may vary) Primal Fear releases. Now, the band does this kind of Dio and Priest-inspired power metal very, very well, so even a relatively safe, predictable Primal Fear album is going to be pretty damned good. Unbreakable is no exception, and can easily stand toe-to-toe with anything the band released prior to New Religion.

If the band set out to write an album full of crowd-pleasing metal anthems, then mission definitely accomplished. The first single from the album, “Bad Guys Wear Black,” is essentially an ode to headbanging, and it totally sets the tone for the rest of Unbreakable. “Give Em Hell” and the very melodic anthem “Metal Nation” also deliver a hefty dose of metal energy, and the rest of the album follows along the same lines. There are a couple of heavier, faster songs, and the slower-paced “ Where Angels Die,” but by and large Unbreakable is the fairly straightforward melodic power metal offering.

It’s hard not to be at least somewhat disappointed after the sheer power and scope of the last two Primal Fear albums, but Unbreakable is still a better than average power metal album, and is definitely at the quality level Primal Fear is known for. Sure, they played it a bit safe this time around, but you really can’t help but bang your head and sing along to these songs.

Edition Notes: The digipack version of Unbreakable features the bonus track “Night of the Jumps.”

Genre: Power Metal

Ralf Scheepers (v)
Alex Beyrodt (g)
Magnus Karlsson (g) (k)
Randy Black (d)
Matt Sinner (b) (v)

Track Listing:
1. Unbreakable (Part 1)
2. Strike
3. Give ‘em Hell
4. Bad Guys Wear Black
5. And There Was Silence
6. Metal Nation
7. Where Angels Die
8. Unbreakable (Part 2)
9. Marching Again
10. Born Again
11. Blaze of Glory
12. Conviction

Label: Frontiers


Hardrock Haven rating: 8.25/10