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Primal Fear | Apocalypse

The defenders of the faith return.

Judas Priest can only make so many albums. And only so many more albums. Which is why the world needs bands like Primal Fear. For those who can’t get enough of Rob Halford and the metal gods’ British steel, the German power players can always be counted on to deliver the goods. Or at least a reasonable facsimile. Frontman Ralf Scheepers (who once auditioned to replace Halford) possesses the same sinister sneering growl and soaring shriek. Co-founding bandmate and bassist Mat Sinner and the rest of the crew crank out the requisite fleet-fingered arpeggios, harmonized solos and hammering beats. Granted, on this dozenth outing Apocalypse, they are more than some tribute act. They tend to riff a little harder and faster than Priest — when they aren’t expanding the terrain with grand orchestrations and ballads. And there’s no missing the traces of hair-metal hedonism that can creep into Scheepers’ tone from time to time. Even so, at heart, they’ll always remain defenders of the faith.

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