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Primal Fear are two albums away from being able to divide their career neatly into two halves: albums recorded for Nuclear Blast, and albums recorded for Frontiers. Since joining Frontiers they've been on auto-pilot, recording albums which are unmistakeably Primal Fear, but generically so. The number of other projects each of the members have been involved in during that time might be a factor for the derivative nature of much of the material, but either way albums like New Religion and Unbreakable have been less than fresh. At first listen Delivering The Black seems to be another of these. Immediately tracks like opener King For a Day, Alive & On Fire, Don't Pray For Justice, etc. sound like standard Primal Fear, but repeated listens reveal many of the songs to be much stronger than that. There are weak links still. Tracks like Inseminoid and Rebel Faction are as derivative of Primal Fear's style as can be, but King For A Day and Alive & On Fire are examples of how they can write songs which don't deviate from the Primal Fear mould at all, but don't get boring either. Far more of this album is memorable than a few previous efforts have been, and after a few play throughs, there are songs on here which will become permanently rooted in the brain. Musically there are other highlights to be had as well, particularly in the slower, darker parts of One Night In December When Death Comes Knocking, with excellent use of strings, and fantastic power ballad Born With A Broken Heart (although it would have been nice if Ralf Scheepers had adopted a slightly more melodic vocal here), which builds like all the great power ballads do to an emotive solo and big finish. In terms of the natural division in their catalogue, Delivering The Black is easy to place amongst the rest. It's the best album they've done for Frontiers by far, but probably isn't quite as good as any of the ones on Nuclear Blast. It's taken them far too long to get back on course after the fresh creativity that bread the Devil's Ground and The Seventh Seal albums seemed to have drained away, but this is the closest so far. On this evidence the next one could be truly impressive.
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