Primal Fear – Rulebreaker

rulebreaker-cover-400This album has metal’s most misleading title since “Fast” by Dopethrone, “Plenty of Mids” by Pantera, and “Not Boring” by Opeth. This is very conservative German power metal that can mostly be predicted in advance.

The BPM is stuck between 120bpm in a generic uptempo stomp. There are screechy, trying-too-hard-to-be-Halford vocals, and guitars chugging away on the 8th note.

Plus, there are liberal occurrences of the Generic Primal Fear chorus. What’s the Generic Primal Fear chorus, you ask? SONG TITLE! / JABBER JABBER JABBER! / SONG TITLE! / JABBER JABBER SCREEEAAAAAAAAM! They have literally forty or fifty songs with this exact chorus.

…Are you excited by this? I’m not. How many homages to Judas Priest do we fucking need?. In the transhumanist community they talk about “rogue superintelligences” – basically, superintelligent computers with interests that are not aligned with humanity’s. A commonly given example is a computer that wants to fill the universe with paperclips. Primal Fear is exactly like a rogue AI that wants to fill the universe with “Breaking the Law”.

In the past I’ve stuck it out through Primal Fear’s crappy songs (and they have an ENDLESS SUPPLY of them) to get to the occasional barn-burner like “Give Em Hell” and “Nuclear Fire”. This time, I approached track 7 in a state of near-narcolepsy with a realisation – here was a new beast, a Primal Fear album with no redeeming tracks!

I was half right. The album has a bonus track called “Final Call”, which is fast and thrashy, and has some neat sectional contrasts. Why it isn’t on the album is a mystery. I guess they threw it off for another song where Ralf Scheepers shouts the title like a mongoloid. “Your holy scripture – your bible verse / They cause all conflict and make things worse”. Great lyrics. I just threw up in my stomach.

I don’t get it. Why do you people like Primal Fear? They make album after album of mechanical and boring metal that disappears from my memory roughly 2.1 seconds after listening to it. Iron Savior has great production. Gamma Ray has Kai Hansen’s songwriting. Helloween has some vestiges of nostalgia value. These guys have nothing.

Remember how we always mourn that Judas Priest never made another Painkiller? Be careful what you wish for, I say. Imagine Judas Priest in their current state of decreptitude, still trying to rewrite Painkiller with every album.

They’d be making…Primal Fear albums.

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