Metal is Forever!
If I'm being honest, I have to say I didn't see very much of Primal Fear because I was too busy with my head down chocking out imaginary lick after imaginary lick on my air guitar!!
I did have reservations prior to Bloodstock 2006 about whether Primal Fear could cut it as headliners. I've always respected their back catalogue if it didn't exactly blow me away. One lesson I've taken from the Primal Fear experience is to not worry so much about the "will they won't they" aspect and just enjoy the band (a side-effect of being a journalist I must confess). Any reservations about their ability to headline and draw a respectable crowd were blown away during the first song and leading track from current album Seven Seals, 'Demons and Angels'.
It is obvious from the outset the reason why Heavy Metal is considered a 'live' form of popular music. For me Primal Fear, at least on disc, come across as a fairly decent metal band carved out of the same tree as Judas Priest, but live they really come into their own. The brilliant mix made the guitar crunch, dive, scream and grind. The solos were played to perfection by Tom Naumann and Stefan Leibing, whilst Rand Black's drums simply beat upon the chest like a deranged gorilla. The star of the show was Primal Fear's main man, Ralf Scheepers. His voice soared above the music, using his falsetto screams sparingly but effectively. Even his Rob Halford moves and poses did little to diminish his performance, and for once there was a band on stage who looked like they were enjoying every goddamn heavy metal second of it.
Only after an hour do you realise how many great songs this band have. 'Chainbreaker', 'Rollercoaster' and the anthemic 'Metal is Forever', the latter receiving the greatest cheer from the adoring and attentive crowd. For this reviewer it was 'Evil Spell' that won the battle of the set list and caused a mini melee in front of me, and I was reassured to know that it's not only myself who thinks this song is an absolute belter. Primal Fear did four things for me after their performance; the first, making me listen to their back catalogue with fresh ears, the second, reminding me why I started listening to metal in the first place, the third, kicking my ass when a good kick was needed, and lastly they gave me one hell of a sore neck the next day. Brilliant!