Of course, if we're in the market for sweeping generalizations, you know exactly what you're going to get the moment you break open the seal on a new PF album – Painkiller lite, right?
Well, yes and no, though largely yes in the case of 'Unbreakable', the ninth album from this likeable German outfit.
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That Priest comparison is never going to be far away for as long as Ralf Scheepers is exercising his lungs for the band, but the 'Fear has always been happy to push the envelope a little on most of their releases to try and avoid the mini-Halford accusations.
They did it to such an extent on their last album, the largely disappointing '16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead)' that I have to admit I thought the game was up. So must the band have, because on Unbreakable they've swung the pendulum back as hard as they could in the direction of Metal, in the process coming up with their most consistently satisfying set since 2001s 'Nuclear Fire'.
So, nothing new on offer then – but what there is is an hour of sparkling, sleek power/trad Metal, choc full of gonzoid anthems such as 'Marching Again', where the band adds a touch of primetime Manowar come chorus time to brighten up the mix and the excellent (almost) title track 'Unbreakable Pt 2'.
Add to this the fact that bassist/producer Mat Sinner has come up with a set of songs that it sounds like the band had a blast recording (and consequently is an undiluted pleasure to listen to), and you've got an album that succeeds on every level.
You do know what its going to sound like, but in this case that's a good thing – and 'Unbreakable' is a very good album.
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