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Primal Fear: Nuclear Fire - 2001 reviewed by: Vinaya Saksena

Track Listing
1. Angel in Black
2. Kiss of Death
3. Back from Hell
4. Now or Never
5. Fight the Fire
6. Eye of an Eagle
7. Bleed for Me
8. Nuclear Fire
9. Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove
10. Red Rain
11. Fire on the Horizon
12. Living for Metal
The sheer volume (in every sense of the term) of high quality, precision-crafted heavy metal currently pouring out of Germany never ceases to amaze me. Year after year, obscure but highly talented acts such as Helloween, Sinner, Pink Cream 69 and their countless contemporaries have continued to inundate the world with a steady outpouring of highly melodic, dramatic and painstakingly well-played metal. Right in the melodramatic thick of it all has been Primal Fear, the highly (and rightfully) successful side-project-turned-full-time-band of bassist Mat Sinner (Sinner) and vocalist extraordinaire Ralf Scheepers (Gamma Ray, Tyran Pace).

Tagged by many critics (in both praise and derision) as a modern-day, Continental European version of England’s near-legendary Judas Priest, this gathering of high-decibel over-achievers has been around since ‘98, yet have already unleashed this, their third album (how many bands can you name, in this day and age, that manage to crank out one album per year?). In any case, “Nuclear Fire” is a nicely packaged collection of considerably heavy, often fast tunes which, again, recall the classic works of Judas Priest and other fine vintage metal acts. And if popular culture has led you to think of metal as a bunch of loud, noisy, simplistic, detuned riffs banged out over a hip-hop beat by guys who appear to have their pants around their knees, then, in the words of a certain well-known metal anthem, "you’ve got another thing coming"!

Punctuated by sprawling, mechanically precise drum fills and Ralf Scheepers’ sinus-straining, almost operatic wail, “Nuclear Fire” starts off with a bang (“Angel In Black”) and never lets up, save for the almost mellow tracks “Now Or Never” and “Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove” (I’m still confused by that one). Some of the more intense tunes approach the feel of vintage Metallica, though most of these tracks lean towards the more melodic European style of metal than the punishing mid-tempo grooves of the modern American variety.

Another key element of the band’s sound that deserves mentioning is Stefan Leibing and Henny Wolter’s tasty, intense and melodic guitar solos (lots of jaw-dropping harmonized lines!), which serve as the icing on the cake for these very traditional, yet well-conceived songs. My only complaint would be the overabundance of those faster, edgier tunes. It’s not that these tracks aren’t up to the compositional standards of the rest of the album (or that I can’t handle the heat), there are simply too many of them, diminishing the album’s fun factor somewhat. But despite such shortcomings, I’ve got to commend these guys for their hard work, because their music, by it’s very nature, is immeasurably more skillful and musical than that of 98% of the heavy bands currently hogging the limelight is likely to ever be.

Rating: 8.5


--Vinaya Saksena 04.07.04
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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