Love ‘im or loathe ‘im, there’s no denying musclebound Primal Fear lungsman Ralf Scheepers is a man of cast-iron principles. Those principles may be a dogged determination to re-write Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’ album every couple of years but you have to admire the man’s conviction. This conviction soaks through every thudding, leathery minute of ‘Rulebreaker’ – it’s an absurdly familiar sound, massively overproduced and about as predictable as the sun rising tomorrow. Yet there’s something resolutely heartwarming about such undeniable passion for treading a well-trodden furrow. Not only that, these boys are no mugs – they know how to play, no question but they also know how to forge proper metal when required. In amongst some inevitable derivate posturing, there are some real gems – ‘Bullets And Tears’ is a cracking anthem, whilst the ten-minute epic ‘We Walk Without Fear’ is absurdly overblown but strangely effective. And even on “playing to the galleries” numbers like ‘In Metal We Trust’, we are presented with some undeniably dazzling lead guitar work. Hard as it is to take Primal Fear seriously at times, ‘Rulebreaker’ shows there’s still plenty left in their chrome-plated tank.
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