“Angels Of Mercy” opens things up with sharp crunching guitar riffs packed with pinch harmonics and pounding rhythm. Ralf Scheepers Halford-esque vocals are undeniably good, delivering a powerful and strong range throughout the album. With three guitarists in the band (Tom Naumann, Alex Beyrodt and Magnus Karlsson) every song has a full on thick sound that blends well with the occasional synth keys, as on “The End Is Near”, with Francesco Jovinos’ bombastic drumming and Mat Sinners’ steady bass creating a memorable groove.
“Bullets And Tears” delivers a bright tempo and an upbeat rhythm (with an ominous guitar hook weaving throughout the song), the chorus /verse combination rolls along nicely. Reminding me of newer Accept material the title track “Rulebreaker” has a melodic mid-tempo beat to it with raw vocals and commanding courses, backed by chugging guitar rhythms and intriguing passages. A song that should gain, mainstream appeal.
My favorite song on this album is “In Metal We Trust” where Primal Fear let out all the stops and blast open the floodgates. Fast drum kicks, blistering fret-board runs with dueling keys, creating the perfect metal anthem. Sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Midway through the disc the mood changes with the sound of a simple European piano-box, building into a symphonic tidal wave of sound on “We Walk Without Fear”. Slow brooding gut-wrenching vocals alternating into bold rich choruses with ascending sonic guitar runs and a sweet 12 string acoustic part make, this track very dynamic and interesting. Raw and untamed with just the right amount of swagger “At War With The World” has some very catchy lyrics and plenty of chainsaw guitar attack’s that rumble along with the bass/ drum section in unison brilliantly.
A deep bass rhythm slowly dominates on “The Devil In Me”, with low growling vocals and eerie guitar licks, creating an ominous atmosphere of evil. Another favorite of mine off this disc is “Constant Heart” a fast-paced, fist-pounding fret burning tune with Ralfs’ vocal deliverance full of range and power.
“The Sky Is Burning” begins with a light acoustic guitar accompanied with soft yet harsh vocals over a simple bass/drumbeat. The courses explode with color and range creating a beautiful ballad. The final track on Rulebreaker “Raving Mad”, rumbles out of the gate full of screaming rage, firing on all cylinders. A thunderous tune, with thick rich riffs and high octane guitar solos.
Some of Primal Fears’ albums in the past, have touched on lyrical themes about government, religion or even conceptual science-fiction. Rulebreaker deals out truth and consequences in a metaphorical manner, the fight of good versus evil and man’s inner conflicts, struggling with the oppressive rules imposed upon him. These veterans of the heavy metal scene have not created a new wheel with Rulebreaker but deliver exactly what their fans would expect. A heavy metal powerhouse full of punch and vigor with great concept, well written/engineered music, that showcases their talent and musicianship.
Overall I would rate Rulebreaker 8.5/10
DjRecklessRonny Sun 1-5 (pst) Weds 4-8 (pst) live on