|Review: Scheepers - Scheepers|
Label: Frontiers Records
Year released: 2011
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 3, 2013
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
You'd think the purpose of making a solo album would be to get some distance from your main line of work, but that's not the deal for Primal Fear frontman Ralf Scheepers. No, instead of recording a substandard hard rock record like most men in his position, Ralf has teamed up with band mate Mat Sinner to create his first solo effort, calling on Magnus Karlsson, Sander Gommans, Kai Hansen, Alex Beyrodt, and Snowy Shaw to help him out. There's even a duet with Ripper Owens, which is pretty fine, even if it's hard to figure out who is singing what.
This album is actually a great representation of everything Ralf has done up to this point. We all know he has one of the best voices in melodic metal, and with slightly more freedom he manages to wrap his skills around a number of styles. We open on three ass-kicking tunes in the Primal Fear cast, with "Locked In The Dungeon" getting things off to a rousing start. You can see Mat Sinner's fingerprints all over this, but that's okay; I wanted this to sound like Primal Fear, and it does, but more importantly, it sounds like good Primal Fear, the kind of thing they were doing back on Jaws Of Death, only more modern and streamlined. Then we have numbers with symphonic touches, songs that might have found their way onto Seven Seals ("Doomsday" is the best example). There are even a few nods to Ralf's past in Gamma Ray, with "Saints Of Rock" sharing the same sensibilities as the Priest-inspired tracks from Sigh No More. "Play With Fire" is the best song on here, with its awesome harmonized riff, but strangely, closing ballad "Compassion" remains with you longer than it should; this is due to a pleasant folky melody and some tender vocals.
The downside lies with the lyrics, which are laughable to say the least ("Cyberfreak" is one of the highlights here, mainly because of its garbled English and bashing of the internet). Nevertheless, fans of Primal Fear will eat this up, and those in search of a quick dose of German metal will enjoy it, too. It's even better when you consider it emerged before Primal Fear brought out Unbreakable, arguably their best record in years.
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