Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SCHEEPERS: "Scheepers"

Rating: 6/10

Label: Frontiers 2011

Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Jeepers Creepers... it's Ralf Scheepers, the vocalist of Primal Fear and formely of Tyran Pace & Gamma Ray. Apparently he was almost chosen as the replacement for Rob Halford in Judas Priest back in the nineties. Now he has released his first solo album, on which he pursues his personal musical ambitions. Fans need not to worry, he has no ambitions to become a folk or country singer or anything weird like that, this album is very much in the metal vein.

The album kicks off with the Judas Priest-like fast'n heavy "Locked In The Dungeon", which doesn't really win any points from me. Scheepers' vocals just way too over the top, and some of the shierks are like fingernails scraping a chalkboard. Next please... and it's "Remission Of Sin", a stomping teutonic metal track straight from the songbook of Accept and U.D.O... the background vocals, the riffs... I don't have the credits, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was an Accept leftover. Interestingly, Tim "Ripper" Owens, the guy who actually became Priest's singer when Scheepers was also considered, duets with him on this track. Third track "Cyberfreak" flirts with modern metal elements, but doesn't convince me either. So far, not so good...

"The Fall" is more to my liking, Scheepers keeping his shierks in control, and the track actually has a good, melodic chorus. The epic "Doomsday" isn't too bad either, and I kinda like the Tyran Pace remake "Saints Of Rock". Scheepers' Judas Priest cover "Before The Dawn" isn't what you'd expect, it's a delicate ballad instead of the expected metallic fury.

After a couple of rather unremarkable tracks, we're treated to a balladic number called "The Pain Of The Accused", which is one of the stronger tracks of the album. It features Gamma Ray’s Kai Hansen on lead guitar. "Play With The Fire" offers some blistering guitarwork, but lacks a decent hook. Just one more track to look into, which is the acoustic ballad "Compassion", a nice and laidback way to end the album. And something completely different from the rest of the album.

If traditional metal is what you like, this might be something you should check out. Scheepers is certainly a capable metal vocalist, too bad that some of the songs are a bit average.


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