|Review: Primal Fear - Devil's Ground|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 2004
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: December 9, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.45/5 (89%) (20 Votes)
It bewilders me how this band can be one of the biggest Metal acts and still get such lukewarm reviews. It seems like every PF fan thinks that "X" release was the best one, and all the others just can't measure up. Except they can never agree on which one that was. So pretty much any Primal Fear album you look up will have a bunch of reviews saying "This isn't as good as their last album blah blah blabbity blah." Bollocks.
Primal Fear have been getting better with every release. Their debut had like 2 really good songs on it, then a bunch of OK ones. And they have been upping the percentage of killers on every disc. "Black Sun" was their best to date, as it was about half great shit like "Magic Eye" and "Lightyears From Home", and about half disposable songs like "Fear" and "Mind Machine". "Devil's Ground", the band's fifth full-length, continues the trend with the most consistent songwriting the band has ever managed. Usually, on a Primal Fear CD you only get about two good songs before the first filler cut, but this one just keeps on ripping: "Suicide And Mania", "Visions Of Fate", the incredible "Sea Of Flames" – I kept waiting for the not-as-good songs to start, but they never really do. I suppose you could class "In Metal" and maybe "Wings Of Desire" as slightly below par for this CD, but they are waaaaaay better than the filler PF usually pad out their running times with. The production is thick and heavy as a wrecking ball, and Matt Sinner's leadwork is great as usual, but we really love Primal Fear for those smoking metallic crunchy riffs, and we get enough of those to load a truck. Ralph sounds as good as usual, but I do object to the constant triple-tracking and vocal effects they bury his voice under. We know he can sing, just stop with all the studio crap and let us hear him already. Still, that has always been their style, so if you can take it on other albums, this is no worse than usual.
This is complete 100% pure steel ownage, and I cannot believe the reviews for this have been so tepid. Maybe everybody thinks this is not as good as "Nuclear Fire" or "Jaws Of Death", but I think it is way better. The only thing I have to ding this for is the extremely silly title track, which is just two minutes of muttering narration about 'The Devil', which has nothing to do with anything, and is just dull. Maybe expectations for this were so high the band could not possibly have met them. I don't know. What I do know is that from any sort of reasonable perspective this is one of the very best metal albums of 2004. Not to be missed.
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