A full spectrum listen
I've followed Ralf Scheepers for a long time now, from the early days with Tyran Pace to Gamma Ray and then the big venture with Primal Fear. I can even remember all of the speculation about the Priest gig when Halford passed the torch, eventually going to Tim Owens. Needless to say I've been very excited about this solo venture from the German, a side-project that normally always shows off a different side of talent. No difference here as Scheepers first solo record is a diverse offering, in no way limiting the screamer to just Teutonic staples but also the ability to step out of the box and become creative with delivery and approach.
The vocalist enlists some big names for this project, acquiring Achim Kohler (Rage, Primal Fear, Brainstorm) to mix and master and long time partner Mat Sinner to produce. Along with assistance behind the panels is a who's who of metal talent ranging from Victor Smolski (Rage, Mind Odyssey) to Tim Owens (Beyond Fear, ex-Judas Priest). These additions really enhance and promote the record from within, allowing Scheepers to coordinate his talent in a wide variety. The end result makes for a full spectrum listen that takes more than one listen to completely absorb.
Fans of Scheepers' Primal Fear work with clearly enjoy cuts like "Play With Fire" and "Locked In The Dungeon", both fast paced racers that embrace the "meat & potatoes" dynasty that Scheepers is so well know for. Metal Mike Chlasciak steps in for lead guitar on the latter track, the first collaboration of the two that I know of. Where things really start to become lively is with "The Fall", a huge hard rock number with that Dokken style groove. More 80s fun is injected into "Saints Of The Rock" and the bass heavy "Dynasty", both very well produced numbers that fully elevate Scheepers smooth vocals. Scheepers also takes some liberty with his songwriting, lashing out at internet piracy on the wicked "Cyberfreak" entry. Fans of Primal Fear's more symphonic elements will enjoy "Doomsday", a roaring track that has a Nick Cave styled intro. Fans that were longing for Scheepers to join Priest will cherish "Before The Dawn", a power ballad that recalls "Diamonds And Rust". The dream team collaboration happens on "Remisson Of Sin", an Accept styled anthem that pairs Scheepers with Tim Owens.
The Bottom Line – An excellent solo record that brings the goods to the core fans but also allows some experimentation to create a full spectrum of sounds.