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Primal Fear
Delivering The Black

Company: Frontiers
Release: 2014
Genre: Power
Reviewer: Vinaya

  • All-guns-blazing, Priest-style metal



  • If you're a fan of traditional, all-guns-blazing, Priest-style metal, this is a pretty fine way to start the year. Assuming you're familiar with the previous works of German metal merchants Primal Fear, you should pretty much know already if this release is for you. If you're looking for the next album that will redefine the boundaries of heavy metal, this ain't it. But for sheer old-school metal power and glory, it's hard to beat tracks like this album's opening duo of "King For A Day" and "Rebel Faction."

    Personally, I've been watching Primal Fear's career since shortly after the band's eponymous 1998 debut album, and really became a full-on fan after seeing their first-ever U.S. gig in support of their third album, "Nuclear Fire" (and interviewing vocalist Ralf Scheepers for my college's radio station). The next album, "Black Sun," was even better, and "Devil's Ground" saw the band's songwriting abilities grow noticeably. After that, my interest waned somewhat, as I found subsequent releases varying somewhat in quality while not really offering any strong new ideas. The band's attempts at new directions during this period, in my opinion, often fell flat (glaring exceptions being mellower tracks like "In Memory" and "Fighting the Darkness"). Their 2009 release "16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead)" was an improvement, despite its long-winded and cheesy title; a welcome bounce back in terms of both style and quality. If anything, that album seemed to prove that Primal Fear function best when they're not trying to reinvent the wheel, and certainly when they're not trying to sound "current." The next album, "Unbreakable," was decent but did not really make a lasting impression on me. "Delivering the Black" is basically more of the same, but scores a bit higher than "Unbreakable" in the songwriting department. If one cares to make distinctions like this between Primal Fear albums (which, let's face it, aren't all that different from one another at the end of the day), I'd say this one reminds me a bit of their second album, "Jaws of Death," in that it's polished, cleanly executed and metal to the core (of course) without going over the top in terms of speed and intensity like they would occasionally do starting with the "Nuclear Fire" album. (Remember "Back From Hell" anyone? None of that here. Only closing cut "Inseminoid" even comes close.)

    One thing I have always liked about Primal Fear's albums is the dual lead guitar interplay. Unfortunately, Primal Fear's awesome two-guitar tandem has been fraught with personnel changes, particularly since "Black Sun." Thankfully, this album marks the second consecutive album for the pairing of Magnus Karlsson and Alex Beyrodt. Personally, I enjoyed the albums with the fleet-fingered Stefan Leibing (paired with either Tom Naumann or Henny Wolter) the best, although all of their albums feature stunning solos, and "Delivering the Black" is no exception. Personally, I don't find the solos on this album to be quite as memorable as on some of their past albums. (I mean, there's nothing like the unforgettable, jaw-dropping "Nuclear Fire" solo section, the "Hotel California" of Primal Fear lead breaks.) But if you want technically flawless solo tradeoffs, there are still plenty of them on this album, especially on the epic "One Night in December"- a song which approaches ten minutes in length! So basically, this album is Primal Fear as trad metal songsmiths, not Primal Fear as guitar-flaunting, borderline-speed metal maniacs. So, like I said, if you've heard them before, and you have even the foggiest idea what I'm rambling about, you should know by now whether or not you need this. Note: In addition to the usual CD, vinyl and digital download versions, "Delivering the Black" is available not only as a Deluxe Edition (CD with bonus tracks, plus DVD with video clips and "making of" feature), but also a "Collectors Deluxe Edition" featuring all of the "Deluxe Edition" stuff, plus (gasp!)... a sculpture of the band's ever-present eagle mascot--made of metal, of course!


    About this Writer:
    Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: PRIMAL FEAR
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    16.6 (BTDKYD)Primal Fear
    2009
    Raising Iron9/18/2009
    Best of FearPrimal Fear
    2017
    Eric Compton11/10/2017
    Delivering The BlackPrimal Fear
    2014
    Eric Compton1/1/2014
    Delivering The BlackPrimal Fear
    2014
    Vinaya Saksena2/20/2014
    Devil’s GroundPrimal Fear
    2004
    Anthony Burke2/20/2004
    Devil's GroundPrimal Fear
    2004
    Eric Compton3/3/2004
    History Of Fear DVDPrimal Fear
    2004
    Eric Compton3/3/2004
    Nuclear FirePrimal Fear
    2001
    Vinaya Saksena4/5/2004
    RulebreakerPrimal Fear
    2016
    Eric Compton2/4/2016
    Seven SealsPrimal Fear
    2005
    Stygian Steel10/14/2005
    UnbreakablePrimal Fear
    2011
    Eric Compton1/30/2012


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: PRIMAL FEAR
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Live In The U.S.APrimal Fear
    2010
    Chris Kincaid8/6/2010
    UnbreakablePrimal Fear
    2012
    Chris Kincaid1/3/2012


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: PRIMAL FEAR
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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