PRIMAL FEAR – 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You’Re Dead)

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Frontiers Records

Metal Express Rating: 7.5/10
Release Date: 2009-05-22
by: RUDI HAUPTMANN
Email: rudi@metalexpressradio.com

One of Germany’s Power Metal standard-bearers are back with a new addition to their catalogue. 16.6 should be an important album where the Primal Fear legacy is concerned. With the inclusion of Magnus Karlsson in the band’s lineup, you’d think they’d be able to achieve at least a little more depth in a musical sense. Instead, you get the same kind of music you’ve come to expect from a group that’s been around for over a decade now.

 

Ralf Scheepers is his characteristic self. All the high notes you know he’ll try and hit are there. He sounds cool in the opening portions of “Black Rain” and “No Smoke Without Fire”. These are the rare occasions where he seems like he’s exploring different registers of his voice. Anyone unfamiliar with “Scheep” should be mindful that this guy’s got a very nasal tone. Henny Wolter gives us the same rock-solid guitar work that he always has. The same goes for the rhythm section of Mat Sinner and Randy Black.

 

It’s hard not to wonder about the kind of influence Magnus Karlsson has actually had on this album. A very well traveled guitarist, his work with greats like Allen-Lande and several others is highly respected. Although it’s nice to see him put out albums on such a consistent basis, one wonders if Primal Fear allows him to stretch the creative wings he’s come to be known for. With this effort, Karlsson’s ingenuity seems stifled.

 

Primal Fear should be able to produce a better collection of songs than this, but there is very little here to rave about. The group seems to adhere to the same tried and true formula they always have. This music is driven by big choruses and massive riffs. There are definitely some strong solos here, but none of this music is of knockout caliber.

 

Something similar could be said for the lyrics. It’s nice of Primal Fear to show some semblance of social consciousness on songs like “Black Rain” and “5.0/Torn”, but there’re also plenty of stale and tired Power Metal themes about “spreading your wings,” “flying high,” and “striking like lightning.” Oh, and there’s an extra cheesy power-ballad thrown into the mix, too.

 

Overall, this is a solid effort but nothing to rave about. That isn’t to say there aren’t a couple fun songs here. The wild and violent nature of “Killbound” is somewhat amusing. The crazed, Judas Priest-like sound featured on “The Exorcist” is nice. But, in the long run, there’s nothing all that memorable about 16.6.

 

Primal Fear’s Website

 

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