Sound — 7
Primal Fear first came together after an unfortunate announcement was given to lead vocalist Ralf Scheepers, formerly of Gamma Ray. Scheepers had been one of several vocalists who auditioned to fill the now vacant role previously held by Rob Halford in Judas Priest. Ultimately, it would be Tim "The Ripper" Owens who would be given the position, and following this news Scheepers would go on to form the speed metal band Primal Fear, alongside bassist Matt Sinner.
Since their original incarnation back in 1997, Primal Fear have undergone multiple lineup changes, however the one installment which has remained consistent since 2003 includes founding members Scheepers and Sinner, as well as Annihilator drummer Randy Black and guitarist Magnus Karlsson, who previously collaborated with original Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. Now Primal Fear are marching their way back into 2014 with their tenth studio effort, the group's first in over two years. With "Delivering the Black," Primal Fear do exactly what they are most well known and beloved for doing: delivering high energy power metal.
Throughout all ten new compositions which comprise "Delivering the Black," the listener quickly falls into a comfortable pace driven by crunching distortion guitar and captivating lead vocals. The album is immediately kick started with the explosive "King for a Day," which boasts contagious Accept-style war chants and the still impressive vocal talent of Ralf Scheepers. "Rebel Factory" is dominated by manic kick drum playing and pinch harmonics which directly cater to established Primal Fear followers, whereas "Alive & On Fire" could very nearly be mistaken for an outtake from Accept's "Stalingrad." The album's title track "Delivering the Black" makes use of some applaudable piercing vocal harmonies, similar to those present throughout the title track from Judas Priest's "Nostradamus." Karlsson's dominative rhythm guitar makes a well welcomed resurgence during "Never Pray for Justice," which lays down the groundwork for Scheepers to take the center stage.
Lyrics — 8
The significant Rob Halford influences in which Primal Fear lead vocalist Ralf Scheepers incorporates into his own performance are at times staggering. The instantly recognizable elements, such as the vocal chord destroying primal screams and exaggerated acapellic-style notes are met with impressive accuracy. Scheepers also adds his own personality to his vocal performance throughout "Delivering the Black," as if to show that he can be his own person and not just a intimidating Halford impersonator.
Overall Impression — 8
When it comes to Primal Fear's new effort, you won't find any emotional power ballads or wayward changes in musical direction which throw the longtime listener for a loop. It's a solid heavy metal album through and through, revealing very few vulnerabilities and ultimately left this listener hitting the replay button countless times.