Predator (Ger) - s/t 4/5

Reviewed: 11-12-04


1. Predator
2. Addicted to pain
3. Hollow words
4. Burried alive
5. Coming home
6. Dream assassin
7. Escape from nowhere
8. Outlaw
9. Waiting forever
10. Night of the witches

Hamburg's Remedy Records is fast becoming a haven for unsung power metal acts of the highest caliber, including on their roster the likes of Paragon, Twisted Tower Dire, Airborn, Solemnity and of course the mighty Stormwarrior. Well, add Germany's Predator to that list, as they've come out of nowhere to deliver a powerful, impressive debut exercise in Teutonic steel. This CD has all the hallmarks of a classic traditional power metal CD. The twin guitars churn out classy, crushing riffs and tasteful harmonies (check out the main melody lines in "Escape from nowhere" and "Hollow words" for a perfect example) from the Iron Savior school of rifferama. The vocals are clear, powerful, melodic and mid-ranged, pleasing in timbre and quite endearing, albeit a bit nondescript (except in "Dream's assassin", where he does a marvelous Hansi Kursch imitation a la 'Lord of the rings'). This ain't no "sissy metal" either, as keyboards are rarely detectable and the intensity factor is akin to the Freternias and Mystic Prophecies of the world. And the songwriting for such a young band is phenomenal, with hooks galore. Of course, there are plenty of fast-paced songs, a staple in the diet of every power metal devotee, but Predator is smart and skilled enough to change speeds effectively, so as to avoid songs-runneth-together-itis. Special mention must be made of "Coming home", an instantly memorable adrenaline rush driven by pummeling double-bass, a mighty chorus, and a beautiful harmony solo. Also standing out are "Predator" (which I walked around for a month thinking was entitled "Raptor" because the key lyric in the song is "He's a raptor") and the lethal "Addicted to Pain". But there's not a weak track to be displayed here, or even an ounce of filler in the 46 minute running time.

Unlike many acts in the Remedy stable, Predator eschew the services of uber-producer Piet Sielck, having instead opted for a self-production. It was a good call, as they've achieved a full, powerful, dynamic sound befitting the fantastic music. (That's not a knock on Sielck's skills, by the way, although he tends to make all the bands he produces sound the same thanks those big choirs featuring his own voice so prominently in the mix). Drawbacks? Well, the band name is cliched and forgettable, and the CD cover art is nothing short of horrendous (what the hell is that thing anyway?). But otherwise this is an immensely strong debut that runs circles around many veterans of the scene. In a world where Kai Hansen seems content to rest on his laurels and Blind Guardian's best days are long behind them, energetic talented young bands like Predator give me hope for the future. May they live long and prosper!




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