Written by Alex Stojanovic
I Am Alive
Along Came The Devil
Hear Me Calling
The Lost & The Forgotten
My Name Is Fear
I Will Be Gone
Raise Your Fists
Howl Of The Banshee
Release Date: July 24, 2020
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Ralf Scheepers - Vocals / Mat Sinner - Bass & backing vocals / Tom Naumann - Guitars
Alexander Beyrodt - Guitars / Magnus Karlsson - Guitars / Michael Ehre - Drums
Now, I have to be honest as I always am. The name Metal Commando has been used as a slogan/nickname for Primal Fear for a long time, so when I saw that they made it into an album title, I wasn't really impressed. However, what really matters is the quality of the music. Even if the songs contain recycled riffs and melodies, which Primal Fear are certainly guilty of, you can always count on finding something to bang your head or sing along to. There have been many times where I'm listening to either a Primal Fear song or a Tyran Pace song, and when I hear Ralf Scheepers' immense vocals, I'm like "Halford, is that you?!" Come on, I know you've all thought that too. It goes without saying that Judas Priest is the biggest influence you hear in this band.
Of course, another thing you can always expect with Primal Fear is some rather cheesy and cliche lyrics. A prime example is "Along Came The Devil". While it's a solid song musically, it doesn't get anymore textbook heavy metal than this, with straightforward chugging riffs, and lyrics talking about how the band "came together to rock". I heard the lyrics, and I'm going: "Really guys, really?". They just sound so cliche and juvenile. The song also sounds like a re-worked version of "Killbound" from 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead). Of course, Ralf's immense vocals make up for the cheesy and cliche lyrics on the album. A couple other examples of cheesy and cliche titles include "Raise Your Fists" and "My Name Is Fear".
Musically, everything you expect to hear from Primal Fear is here, from the stomping headbangers like "Along Came The Devil" and "Hear Me Calling", to the intense thrashers like "I Am Alive" and "Halo", and the soaring epics like "Infinity" and "I Will Be Gone". "Infinity" is the closer, and the longest song here, clocking in at 13 minutes. For me, the song really ends at the 10-minute mark. I think that the last three minutes, which feels more like a hidden track with a dark choir singing, a bell chiming, a little orchestral section and a soaring climatic melody, should have been taken out. I feel like it's just there for the sake of it to make it a really long song, and it doesn't really serve a purpose, but that's just me.
It has pretty much gotten to the point where if you've heard three Primal Fear songs, then you've heard them all. I say three, because there's the fast side, there's the mid-tempo side, and there's the soaring side. I still really like how this album came out, because the songs are solid, the musicianship is top notch and the production is punching. Mat Sinner and Jacob Hansen make a solid production team, but I think the time has come for Primal Fear to find a new producer/mixer, because all the albums from Unbreakable to Metal Commando are starting to sound like repeats of one another. I'll always be a fan, and I look forward to seeing the band live again, but it sounds like they're starting to run out of ideas when it comes to new music.
Highs: Solid songs, production and musicianship. Ralf Scheepers is a vocal god.
Lows: Many recycled riffs and melodies. Very textbook metal.