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Primal Fear - "16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead)" (CD)

Primal Fear - "16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead)" CD cover image

"16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You're Dead)" track listing:

1. Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (0:49)
2. Riding The Eagle (4:59)
3. Six Times Dead (16.6) (4:00)
4. Black Rain (6:07)
5. Under The Radar (5:26)
6. 5.0 - Torn (7:14)
7. Soar (4:17)
8. Killbound (4:13)
9. No Smoke Without Fire (4:52)
10. Night After Night (5:01)
11. Smith and Wesson (4:46)
12. The Exorcist (4:47)
13. Hands of Time (4:22)
14. Cry Havoc (4:00)
15. Scream (4:41)

Reviewed by on June 19, 2009

"This album brings back to the table all the thrash, speed, and power metal elements that helped make Primal Fear one of the biggest names in German metal."

A lot of Primal Fear fans felt alienated with the German metal band’s 2007 release "New Religion." With its orchestral accompaniment and guest vocals by Epica siren Simone Simons, it was different from Primal Fear’s usual fare, to say the least. Fortunately, fans of the band can breathe a sigh of relief with their latest release, "16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead)." This album brings back to the table all the thrash, speed, and power metal elements that helped make Primal Fear one of the biggest names in German metal.

The album may open slow, with a very brief, hushed intro with choral chants that almost make you feel like you’re spiraling down into the depths of hell, but after the first forty-five seconds, it transitions into "Riding The Eagle," a great headbanger tune with a guitar solo that spirals up and away until there aren’t any more fret bars to grip. This tune is quickly followed up by "Six Times Dead (16.6)," the first song selected for a video debut off the album, and definitely one of the strongest tracks. It’s melodic thrash, if there is such a genre, with some awesome shouted gang vocals that remind me of old-fashioned, gritty metal of the early 80’s.

Next up is a tune unique from the rest of the album, "Black Rain." It opens with a very Middle Eastern sound, with open strings, and what sounds like a snake’s rattle, along with some very nice female vocals. But don’t worry; this prog rock tune quickly picks up the more traditional Primal Fear sound in the power metal style breakdown. Another tune that is unique to "16.6" is the ballad "Hands Of Time." This surprisingly mellow track has all the band members taking turns at the lead vocals, and the end result is really good.

Overall, Primal Fear’s new release is pretty good, especially considering the depths from which they had to rise. But, the tunes do have a tendency to become repetitive, and with fifteen songs, the album as a whole becomes a bit tiresome to listen to all the way through. Still, it holds its own next to their classic albums, and should be a welcome relief for established Primal Fear fans.

Highs: Most of the album is quite good, but the unique sound of "Black Rain" makes it stand out.

Lows: There are no bad songs, though there are sections of songs that get a bit repetitive.

Bottom line: A breath of fresh air for Primal Fear fans, and a solid album for fans of thrash and speed.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)