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“Beat Em Down” serves as a tribute to Gothenburg boxing champ Ingemar “Ingo” Johansson who passed away earlier this year.
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When given the opportunity to do some music reviews for Hard Rock Hideout, I jumped at the chance. This was my chance to expand my horizons and discover some new kick ass music. I’ve been really bad about listening to new stuff lately. I either listen to the same old stuff or go straight for the classic rock. I’ve been really out of the loop on new metal, and I’m a bit ashamed of myself for it. So I’m jumping in head first with Primal Fear’s 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead).
I’ll let you all know up front that I’d never heard of this band and didn’t know one freaking thing about them, so I listened to the album with a completely open mind, no preconceived notions, ideas or thoughts. I did do a little research on the band (after listening to the album first) just to familiarize myself with them. The German metal band formed in 1997, has many albums and has had many line up changes over the years. Lead singer, Ralf Scheepers, was even considered for Rob Halford’s replacement in Judas Priest, which comes as no surprise.
The first thing to punch me in the face was Sheepers’ voice. It’s SO reminicsent of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford. I didn’t realize how much I missed that kind of singing until I listened to this album. It may be the most poignant part of the music for me. His voice is so strong and so solid. Not many people can sing this well, and although many try…most fall short. Sheepers’ is definitely powerful and a force to be reckoned with.
The other stand out point about this band is that it’s so guitar driven. There are furious, noodley guitar solos that grab you. That is definitely something that is missing from today’s rock that drives me insane. Very few people appreciate a good guitar solo and have almost let the art die off. Thank god metal keeps it alive!
High points for me include “Six Times Dead (16.6)” and “Killbound”. They’re both heavy and brutal.
There were only two negatives on this album. The first is “Soar”. The weird electronic intro and Marilyn Manson like sounds were odd and misplaced. And then there’s “Hands of Time”, which is a ballad. A ballad? I don’t get that at all. I suppose “every bad boy still has his soft side,” but this song totally threw me off and confused me. It just doesn’t fit at all.
If you like classic, straight forward metal, then you’re going to like this album. I have no idea if this is what’s normally expected of this band, but I kind of have a feeling that it is. There’s no denying the Iron Maiden and Judas Priest influence throughout with a little Pantera thrown in for good measure. I’m not saying that in a bad way but in an appreciative way because it’s really been so long since I’ve heard anything like this. It was really refreshing.
01. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
02. Riding The Eagle
03. Six Times Dead (16.6)
04. Black Rain
05. Under The Radar
06. 5.0 / Torn
09. No Smoke Without Fire
10. Night After Night
11. Smith & Wesson
12. The Exorcist
13. Hands Of Time
Primal Fear is:
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Mat Sinner – Bass & Vocals
Henny Wolter – Guitars & Vocals
Magnus Karlson – Guitars
Randy Black – Drums
Reviewed by Christine Sixx