Scheepers - 2011 - Scheepers
1. Locked In The Dungeon
2. Remission Of Sin
4. The Fall
6. Saints Of The Rock
7. Before The Dawn
8. Back On The Track
10. The Pain Of The Accused
11. Play With The Fire
Ralf Scheepers has built himself quite a reputation for being one of the finest German metal singers. With a career spanning three decades (he debuted with Tyran Pace's Eye to Eye album in 1983), Scheepers sung on Gamma Ray's first three albums among others, before starting Primal Fear in 1997 with Mat Sinner.
His voice is high-pitched and tenor-esque and his abilities were often compared to some of the finest hard rock and heavy metal singers ever, from Rob Halford to Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan.
Over the recent years Ralf wrote and collected a few songs that did not exactly fit in the Primal Fear concept.
On his self-titled debut, Scheepers' artistic intention was to please the existing Primal Fear fan base, but he also wanted to add some surprises and include as much variation as he could in the recording.
Track one, “Locked In The Dungeon” is a fierce and heavy barnburner NWOBHM. The obvious Priest and Maiden elements are present throughout the track, but the influences don’t stop there as this track twists and turns with bits of Diamond Head, Saxon and alikes.
On “Remission Of Sin”, Scheepers turns to none other than former Judas Priest lead singer, Tim “Ripper” Owens for a duet on a cracking metal track that at times sounds very much like 80's Accept. The bass line/sound by Mat Sinner is awesome and the track is pretty heavy, yes, but commercial and retro at the same time.
"Cyberfreak" returns to a more heavy sound, very much in the vein of Vengeance. A weak track in my opinion.
“The Fall” is the first song in the melodic hard rock territory, a mid-tempo with strong guitars and a catchy and melodic chorus.
“Saints Of Rock” is another mid-tempo hard rocker that would be right at home on any record put out by Saxon in the last 15 years. This is Scheepers covering Scheepers, the original track coming from his first band Tyran Pace, originally recorded in 1986.
Next, Scheepers covers one of his own favorite -albeit atypical- Judas Priest songs, “Before The Dawn”, originally on Priest’s Hell Bent For Leather, and for the first time, Ralf played all instruments, except the guitar solos added by Victor Smolski (Rage). A calm, acoustic tune with an arrangement that stays true to the original.
With vocals sounding very much like Dream Theatre’s James LaBrie, Scheepers pulls out all the stops on “Back On The Track”. A double bass drum bashing intro leads you on a rollercoaster ride of speedy metal mixed with mellow interludes.
“Play With The Fire” has a thundering rhythm section and a duel guitar attack reminiscent of classic Maiden with perhaps the best guitar solos on the disc.
“The Pain Of The Accused” is the 'ballad' on this disc. A cool track that begins with an extended acoustic intro and smooth vocals and then melts into a mid-paced melodic rocker with a blazing guitar solo by Kai Hansen at the 3 minute mark.
Final track, the german-folksy “Compassion”, is a feel-good acoustic jam about the struggle between war and peace. It includes banjo and accordion, a notorious contrast with the rest of the material.
Scheepers is a metal disc in essence, but feels very aimed at a new audience who has not heard Primal Fear or heavy acts, as on many places we can hear melodic hard rock arrangements and production -courtesy of Mat Sinner- is clean, crisp and 'commercial'.
This intention is obvious if you note that this disc is released through a label specialized in melodic rock and AOR bands.
Ralf has created a album that's nice to listen to, with a retro vibe, big vocal hooks and melodies, sometimes heavy but not strictly 'metal'.
Ralf Scheepers: Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, FX Sounds
Magnus Karlsson: Lead Guitars, Guitars, Banjo, Accordion,Keyboards
Sander Gommans: Lead Guitar, Guitars
Mike Chlasciak, Alex Beyrodt, Kai Hansen, Victor Smolski: Lead Guitars
Mat Sinner: Bass, Keyboards
Snowy Shaw: Drums
Tim “Ripper” Owens: Lead Vocals on “Remission of Sin”
Last Updated (Tuesday, 01 March 2011 18:52)