Perhaps this should’ve been called Nuclear Blast, what with that label having so much drama during the end of 2000. Anyway, the estimable Primal Fear returns for another round of Teutonic heaviness with Nuclear Fire (their third overall), sounding well-greased and -gassed as ever, not necessarily offering any new additions to their modern update of Painkiller-era Priest as they are aware of what “the fans” want and crave, that of which being more of the same. Enviously executed and with an iron-fisted grasp of songcraft, Nuclear Fire can really set the sparks a-flying, really take hold of what pure heavy metal is and should be, and at the very least, it’s nowhere near the happy-happy/joy-joy power-metal prancing that frontman Ralf Scheeper’s former group Gamma Ray is exceedingly fond of. Yet, in the year-plus since I reviewed Jaws of Death — last year’s predecessor to Nuclear Fire — I’ve yet to put it on after the preliminary review spins, and I’m afraid such will happen with Nuclear Fire. Without a doubt, quite solid in the context of the metal world, but in the context of all music? Um, try fighting it out with new releases by P.J. Harvey, Radiohead, and the Wu-Tang Clan for space in my disc changer, and we’ll see who gets (nuclear) fired out of here.
Nuclear Blast, PO Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106, http://www.nuclearblast-usa.com