Album Review – Primal Fear / Metal Commando (2020)

Join Primal Fear’s undisputed rock brigade and become a true metal commando to the sound of their breathtaking new album.

Just like what happens with other renowned hardworking metal bands form all over the world, German Power Metal masters Primal Fear seem to follow a “strict” schedule of releasing a new album every two years, and that’s without counting their compilations and live albums. Well, let’s say that two-year formula followed by frontman Ralf Scheepers, bassist Mat Sinner, guitarists Magnus Karlsson, Alex Beyrodt and Tom Naumann, and newcomer Michael Ehré on drums has been working amazingly for the band, keeping them sharp, ready to rock and always hungry for more. Primal Fear have been on a roll for decades already, with all of their latest albums, those being Delivering the Black (2014), Rulebreaker (2016) and more recently Apocalypse (2018) being a lesson in Heavy and Power Metal with no shenanigans nor any artificial elements added to their trademark sound, and their streak seems far from being over with their 2020 opus Metal Commando, not only the thirteenth studio album in their undisputed career, but also as the name of the album already states, a lecture in our good old Heavy Metal.

The crisp and electrifying guitars by Magnus, Alex and Tom rev up the band’s engines in the exciting opening track I Am Alive, a traditional Power Metal tune by Primal Fear to properly kick things off with Ralf majestically delivering his usual (and absolutely awesome) high-pitched vocal lines, followed by Along Came the Devil, blending the classic metal music by Judas Priest with Primal Fear’s characteristic sound (also reminding me a lot of their own Apocalypse bonus track “Fight Against All Evil”, by the way), and with Mat and Michael making a thunderous duo with their bass jabs and rhythmic beats, respectively. In the inspiring Halo we’re treated to straightforward, thrilling lyrics (“One man genocide / Broken halos / Wings that used to fly / Into the dark / Angel in the light / And disappear / I can see your halo”) while the music transpires pure Power Metal for our total delight, with Ralf once again stealing the spotlight with his blazing screams, whereas less visceral and more melodic than its predecessors, Hear Me Calling is a very pleasant Hard Rock tune showcasing meaningful lyrics intertwined with the always razor-edged, hypnotizing guitar job done by Magnus, Alex and Tom, keeping the album at a high level of awesomeness.

And Michael pounds his drums with tons of power in the heavy-as-hell The Lost & the Forgotten, with Ralf and Mat generating a fantastic paradox between their soaring screams and rumbling bass punches, making it impossible to stand still to their headbanging feast. Then slashing riffs and fast and furious beats are the main ingredients in the high-octane My Name Is Fear, a lesson in German Power and Heavy Metal displaying a flawless fusion of harmony and rage (and fear, of course), all spiced up by the insane solos blasted by the band’s guitar triumvirate, and after so many metal anthems it’s time for a soothing ballad titled I Will Be Gone, where Ralf obviously thrives with another passionate performance while his bandmates generate an ethereal ambience perfect for embracing your loved ones on a cold winter night, followed by an ode to all things Rock N’ Roll entitled Raise Your Fists, where their riffs and solos will pierce your ears while Michael dictates the pace with his classic beats. Put differently, there’s nothing better than raising our fists and banging our heads to Primal Fear’s old school Heavy Metal, don’t you agree?

In Howl of the Banshee the band brings forth more of their trademark sonority presenting blast beats, singalong lyrics and another amazing performance by Mat with his unstoppable bass. Moreover, it’s easy to imagine Ralf kicking ass on stage singing this excellent tune to a huge crowd at a summer metal festival, while in Afterlife guess what Magnus, Alex and Tom do to our senses with their axes? It’s indeed another round of scorching, metallic riffs and wicked solos boosted by Ralf’s fulminating vocals, being therefore highly recommended for slamming into the circle pit, before our senses are fully captivated by the 13-minute aria Infinity, where Ralf beautifully declaims the song’s dark words (“Sitting here in the morning / Remembering what my father said / Another day is dawning / And demons are touching me / The rain is falling / And washes away the tears / It’s an early warning / The roar of my fears”) while his bandmates craft a hammering and bold atmosphere, resulting in a brilliant festival of breathtaking solos and flowing smoothly  until its dense and cinematic grand finale. In addition, I would highly recommend you go for one of the special editions of the album to get four amazing bonus tracks, the instrumental intro Rising Fear, the pounding and melodic Leave Me Alone, the 80’s-inspired Hard Rock chant Second to None and the bestial Crucify Me, as they’re all worth the extra investment hands down.

Primal Fear Metal Commando Box

Do you consider yourself a true metal fan? If your answer to this very simple question is a sounding YES, raising your fists and banging your head while answering it, then you must add Metal Commando to your Heavy Metal collection, and you can do so by purchasing the album from the Nuclear Blast webstore, or you can also buy a digital copy of it or stream it in full by clicking HERE, but if I were you I would certainly go for the Metal Commando Box available at the Napalm Records webstore, including the digipak double CD version of the album, a double vinyl with an exclusive color, a poster and a slipmat. Hence, you can also follow Ralf, Mat & Co. on Facebook and on Instagram to stay up to date with all things Primal Fear, and listen to Metal Commando and all of their previous albums on Spotify. Then, and only then, you’ll be ready to become a commando and join Primal Fear’s one and only metal brigade, armed to the teeth with their classy and piercing Power Metal while braving the battlegrounds of our everyday lives.

Best moments of the album: Halo, Hear Me Calling, The Lost & the Forgotten, My Name Is Fear and Infinity.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. I Am Alive 4:34
2. Along Came the Devil 4:21
3. Halo 4:19
4. Hear Me Calling 4:39
5. The Lost & the Forgotten 4:08
6. My Name Is Fear 4:04
7. I Will Be Gone 4:26
8. Raise Your Fists 3:52
9. Howl of the Banshee 4:54
10. Afterlife 4:29
11. Infinity 13:12

Deluxe Digipak/Japanese Edition bonus tracks
12. Rising Fear 1:39
13. Leave Me Alone 4:04
14. Second to None 4:12
15. Crucify Me 4:06

Band members
Ralf Scheepers – vocals
Mat Sinner – bass, backing vocals
Magnus Karlsson – guitars, keyboards
Alex Beyrodt – guitars
Tom Naumann – guitars
Michael Ehré – drums

1 thought on “Album Review – Primal Fear / Metal Commando (2020)

  1. Pingback: The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2020 | THE HEADBANGING MOOSE

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