SCHEEPERS – Scheepers

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Frontiers Records

Metal Express Rating: 8.0/10
Release Date: 2011-02-15
by: SEAN MELOY
Email: sean@metalexpressradio.com

The solo album; it is a precedent which was set by the band Kiss many years ago, when each member simultaneously released their own personal creation. The idea behind the solo album is for the artist to create music completely separate from their band of origin … music having its own unique sound. Some artists have been very successful with this concept, such as Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson. Other artists have produced much weaker efforts, such as David Lee Roth and Vince Neil.

Ralf Scheepers has seen a tremendous amount of success over the years. As the lead singer of Gamma Ray, and most recently Primal Fear, his distinctive high-pitched, tenor voice has made him one of the most respected singers in the world.

Scheepers’ approach to his self-titled debut solo album is intended to please the existing Primal Fear fan base, but also add a personal flavor that does not exactly fit the Primal Fear concept. The resulting effect is a mixture of songs that range from classic, heavy riff Power Metal to soft acoustic melody. Overall, the album as a whole doesn’t have general theme. Each track displays something a little different. It’s almost like a varied assortment of different Metal approaches.

The opening track “Locked In The Dungeon” features the guitar work of Halford’s Metal Mike Chlasciak. As a result, the song has a very Halford-esque feel, especially with Scheepers high-pitched screams during the chorus. The second track “Remission Of Sin” is a very outstanding duet with Ripper Owens. This is ironic as Ripper Owens was chosen over Scheepers as the Halford vocal replacement for Judas Priest. Of course, the Judas Priest connections do not stop there as Scheepers performs a cover of Priest’s “Before The Dawn” on this album as well.

The core Primal Fear fan will definitely be pleased with this album, as there are plenty of tracks with heavy Primal Fear influence … “The Fall”, “Doomsday”, and “Play With The Fire”, to name a few. Considering the album is produced and features performances from Primal Fear bassist Mat Sinner, as well as Primal Fear guitarists Magnus Karlson and Alex Beyrodt, the effect is very strong.

Arguably the best track on the album is “Pain Of The Accused”, which features former Gamma Ray mate Kai Hansen. This is a very powerful and emotional song, and definitely takes a step back in time to Scheepers days in Gamma Ray. The track is very well written, the riffs are great, Hansen’s guitar solo is awesome, and Scheepers vocals are the best on the entire album.

For his first solo performance, Scheepers has presented something very persuasive and powerful. He has proven that he has the recipe to blossom a very successful side solo career. Perhaps if Scheepers can provide his fans a little more distance from the Primal Fear core formula, and take a more individualistic approach, there is no limit to his potential.

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