Primal Fear - Unbreakable (Frontiers)

A solidly impressive return to what they do best.
Release Date: 
26 Jan 2012 - 11:30pm

Of course, if we’re in the market for sweeping generalizations, you know exactly what you’re going to get the moment you break open the seal on a new PF album – Painkiller lite, right?

 Well, yes and no, though largely yes in the case of Unbreakable, the ninth album from this likeable German outfit. That Priest comparison is never going to be far away for as long as Ralf Scheepers is exercising his lungs for the band, but the ‘Fear has always been happy to push the envelope a little on most of their releases to try and avoid the mini-Halford accusations - or at least do a bit of damage limitation; They did it to such an extent on their last album, the laregely disappointing 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) that I have to admit I thought the game was up. So must the band have, because on Unbreakable they’ve swung the pendulum back as hard as they could in the direction of ‘metal’, in the process coming up with their most consistently satisfying set since 2001’s Nuclear Fire.

That's a big call, but thankfully Unbreakable is a big enough album to back it up. So, nothing new on offer then – but what there is is an hour of sparkling, sleek power/trad metal, choc full of  gonzoid anthems such as Marching Again, where the band adds a touch of primetime Manowar come chorus time to brighten up the mix and the excellent (almost) title track Unbreakable Pt 2. Add to this the fact that bassist/producer/main songwriter Mat Sinner has come up with a set of songs - simple, stunningly effective and just what longtime fans like me wanted -  that it sounds like the band had a blast recording (and consequently is an undiluted pleasure to listen to), and you’ve got an album that succeeds on every level. You do know what its going to sound like, but in this case that’s a good thing – and Unbreakable is a very good album.