PRIMAL FEAR
"Unbreakable"

(Frontiers)

01. Unbreakable (Part 1)
02. Strike
03. Give 'Em Hell
04. Bad Guys Wear Black
05. And There Was Silence
06. Metal Nation
07. Where Angels Die
08. Unbreakable (Part 2)
09. Marching Again
10. Born Again
11. Blaze Of Glory
12. Conviction
13. Night Of The Jumps (bonus track)

RATING: 7/10

Across numerous albums, tours, and the some memberships changes, Germany's PRIMAL FEAR have gone from the band nobody could discuss without mentioning JUDAS PRIEST to an established traditional/power metal outfit that forged ahead and established themselves as an international force. Well, OK, the JUDAS PRIEST thing may never vanish, but the last few albums have seen PRIMAL FEAR develop more of a well-rounded sound that is rooted in that classic sound without ending up an exercise in strict emulation. That is most evident on "Unbreakable", an album that culls from both early and later years' material, but is more than anything a straight ahead power/traditional metal release.

After an elegant intro piece called "Unbreakable (Part I)" the album hits the ground running with heavy metal scorcher "Strike", the shout chorus and hook making it immediately memorable. "Give 'em Hell" keeps the album on solid ground, featuring some notable twin leads and soloing. "Bad Guys Wear Black" comes off cheesier than usual at first with a chorus of "Bang your head until you reach the end, bang your head and don't look back," but spin it a few more times and it ends up sticking in your head, regardless of your desire to resist. A similar effect is felt on "Metal Nation", though its anthem qualities hit with more immediacy, reminding to some degree of a song that DREAM EVIL might have recorded. A handful of other tracks dip in and out of middling territory, including "Unbreakable (Part II)", "Marching Again", "Blaze of Glory", and melodic power metal cut "And There was Silence". "Where Angels Die" works as a lighter song, though the sappiness of the chorus is spread a bit too thick, while ballad "Born Again" is merely tolerable.

Even with some minor missteps, "Unbreakable" is an easy album to enjoy due, thanks in large part to the spirit and energy that continue to be hallmarks of the PRIMAL FEAR sound. Most outside of diehard circles may find that sticking with it pays off, resulting in any initial qualms steadily disappearing with every trip taken. On the whole, it's worth the retail price for heavy metal fans.

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