Primal Fear - 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)
(4 reader votes, average 4.25 out of 5)

by Ben Perry

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Band Name: Primal Fear
Album Name: 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)
Release Date: May 22, 2009

Band on Record:

Ralf Scheepers: Vocals
Henny Wolter: Guitars
Magnus Karlsson: Guitars
Mat Sinner: Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on “Hands of Time”
Randy Black: Drums

Track 1: “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”
Beginning with a typical intro song, falling short of hitting a minute, but a good build up for the album that follows it.
Song Rating: N/A


Track 2: “Riding the Eagle”
From the moment the intro guitar to this song starts up you know its going to be one fast rocker with lots of melody and sing-a-long riffs. Karlsson and Wolter do not disappoint providing both aspects of the twin guitar attack as Scheepers sings perfectly over them sticking the riffs right into your head. Primal Fear have started this album off in perfect fashion.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10


Track 3: “Six Times Dead (16.6)”
The second song on the disc, as well as the second song to have that same catchy aspect as “Riding the Eagle” did before it. This song immediately grabbed me, and dare I say it on one of my first few listens to this disc say it has climbed into my Top 10 Primal Fear tunes? I think I can. The drumming is top-notch with some amazing fills and sequences that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Not to mention the machine gun riffs and a nifty solo that does some out of the box stuff. Gotta be Karlsson at work there, master of the guitar and musical genius he is! Sweet bass too, I believe we have a winner. (I finished writing this segment, and then listened to the song again just because it’s that good.)
Song Rating: 20 out of 10!

Track 4: “Black Rain”
Not going to lie, this song took a few listens to grow on me as it begins rather slow and then plods along for a while before the solo, which has some cool twinges in it. This is not a bad, do not get me wrong, but where the other two were so quick to grab me and keep my attention this one misses some of those elements.
Song Rating: 8 out of 10


Track 5: “Under the Radar”
This one was a little easier to get into than “Black Rain” as it had a quicker pace, but still something there that was not as easier as the first two songs. Maybe those two set the bar a little high to begin with, that being said “Under the Radar” has some great riffs, good drumming, an excellent show in vocal prowess by Mr. Scheepers in addition to those crazy guitar solos that have gotten better with each Primal Fear release.
Song Rating: 8.5 out of 10


Track 6: “5.0/Torn”
The solo that kicks off this song seems almost lifted from somewhere, however it does retain a classic metal feel to it that goes off A+ in my book before the song kicks in with some quick guitar riffing. Ralf Scheepers sings on an even level here, not going too high in register or too low and it works perfectly with the atmosphere of the guitar and keyboards. A bit dense on the first listen at over seven minutes, but the chorus will soon get stuck in your head and the infectious vocal and keyboard lines will embed themselves into you.
Song Rating: 8.5 out of 10


Track 7: “Soar”
This song sounds a lot like the new Primal Fear material (“Carniwar”) for some reason comes into my mind. However, it also is contemporary with other bands out right now making this accessible to both old school fans as well as newer metal patrons. The keyboard and guitar mastery have a lot to thank for that, and some of the tones achieved are phenomenal and unique. This song got me excited from the first time I heard it, and that feeling has yet to go away!
Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10


Track 8: “Killbound”
Pure, classic Primal Fear with a heavy influence from their first two or three albums. The vocals, guitars, and the raw energy that was readily evident on Jaws of Death makes this an enjoyable listen with the ability to raise your blood pressure and want to rock. Another smack in the mouth solo provided by Mr. Karlsson into uplifting melody sets the icing on the cake to induct this track into the classic status.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10


Track 9: “No Smoke Without Fire”
If you were looking for a bass heavy track, this is right up your alley. The vocals are the main melody with the guitars and keyboards playing second fiddle, until the solo when they take the forefront again. That change-up sounds awesome.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10


Track 10: “Night After Night”
The power metal influence of Magnus Karlsson can clearly be felt on here with the guitar sequences that reek of the typical power metal finger tapping melody. It’s not a bad song, particularly in the vocals that absolutely blow me away, but the musical aspect could use some changes except for the solo, which is nailed per usual.
Song Rating: 8 out of 10


Track 11: “Smith & Wesson”
:guns2: This song is smoking and the riffs fire at you as fast a bullet from a gun. A roller coaster and infectious tune that does not let you catch your breath from verse to verse and through the chorus. I just wish the solo started off faster than it does, but the rhythm section never slows it down.
Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10


Track 12: “The Exorcist”
If you thought the previous song was going at breakneck speeds, get prepared to go even faster as the band kicks it up another notch for the next 4 minutes of religious bashing. The solos are blistering as usual, and the reasoning to bring Magnus into the fold is expounded one the last speed track of the album leaving no doubt that he has become an essential part of Primal Fear as Stefan Leibing was before him.
Song Rating: 9 out of 10


Track 13: “Hands of Time”
Mat Sinner takes over on vocals for this number and that move was absolutely perfect as his voice adds a feeling to this power metal ballad that I fear Ralf Scheepers would not be able to evoke (though his added vocals at certain points of the song are PERFECTION!). The vocals on here remind me a bit of some work Jon Shaffer has done in Iced Earth on The Glorious Burden when speaking as General Lee. Musically, the band is spot-on to work with the vocals from the rhythm section to the intermittent guitars that culminate when the electric meets the acoustic. A powerful song and one of my new favorites.
Song Rating: 13 out of 10


Overall Review:
With this album, Primal Fear have been able to capture the special magic that was their first few releases that everyone labeled them as a Judas Priest rip-off for. That energy and style were then coupled with the progression of their music from the last few albums to show just how much has been learned through the past seven albums and into this eighth release. The addition of Magnus Karlsson on guitar (for those who do now know his work in Allen/Lande or Starbreaker check that out now) only strengthened the strong ranks of this band as he brought his musical genius to the table in order to craft some truly wonderful pieces. The message of the band has not changed much both as the religious tones are still there, and the question of where they stand in relation to religion remains unanswered; although “The Exorcist” gives a pretty good indication. I hope that Primal Fear is able to retain the magic that went into crafting this record and bring many more to come.
Overall Album Rating: 9.5 out of 10

 

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