Meister's Metal Mayhem

By: Rich (The Meister) Dillon

On May 3, the Virgin Mobile Mod Club in Toronto was invaded by Germans with the help of local promotion company Inertia Entertainment. But before the Germans assaulted the stage, two local bands warmed up the crowd, the first being Sovereign Council. While I enjoyed parts of their set, especially warming up towards the end, at first it was not so. The sound was “off kilter” somewhere as all I could hear were bass and drums with the vocals being very muffled. With duPrimal Fear-Mod Club-Torontoal guitarists, I still couldn’t hear a note of the guitar and it was like a mime presentation when they burst into any solo. The vocals drastically improved with the addition of a dual lead, a female, arriving during song two or three. Overall they had an almost symphonic metal sound to them and very European with the dual gender lead. The song they announced as “Bring it Down” had my foot tapping, and I’d be interested in delving into the recorded catalog, if one exists, as I think I would have enjoyed them more had I been familiar with the material and the sound mix adjusted.

Answer With Metal was the next on the roster and I was dubious on the name alone, it just didn’t sound like my flavor. That thought was kiboshed almost immediately when they began to play. Right away on the first song selection I immediately thought that they sounded a little Iron Maidenish, but perhaps that was only as the lead singer was sporting a Maiden concert tee. By the second song, I realized that it was not just a tee shirt, but they sounded very much like the NWOBHM style of the Brits famous for “The Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills”. Unfortunately, they were plagued with the same sound mixing quality, I think unbeknownst to them. It did seem to marginally improve as we went along but lacked treble all round. As for the music, the song titles seemed to incorporate elements of fantasy and medieval times with things like “Writing in Stone”, “Tomb of the Unknown King” and “Time To Die”. The song “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make a Right)” has received the video treatment and can be found on “You-Tube”. Overall, a very enjoyable performance and a definite in the crosshairs of my future concert going schedule.

The stage lights dimmed signifying the coming German onslaught as skin basher Randy Black entered the arena and climbed up behind his massive rig. When I say up, I do mean upPrimal Fear-Mod Club Toronto as the drum riser reached approximately four feet off the floor, something I’ve not seen before at this type of venue at least. Clacking his sticks together above his head, Black started to get the crowd riled up as guitarist Alex Beyrodt was next out. My wonderment if they would appear one by one was quickly quelled with Tom Naumann and Mat Sinner gracing the stage together. Current Primal Fear guitarist Magnus Karlsson was unable to perform on this tour due to family commitments at home in Germany, so the band recruited original founding member Tom Naumann for the guitar duties across North America. Vocalist Ralf Scheepers was the last to bound out of the shadows of side stage and join his band mates. I was unfamiliar with the first song, only recently becoming aware of Primal Fear’s existence with the latest release Delivering the Black. That new album is simply fantastic, a meaty slab of German power metal sure to please. Tragically Primal Fear has not enjoyed the same successes here in North America that they receive in the European markets, and that was evident at the less than full crowd in attendance, Ralf Scheepers-Primal Fear -Mod Club Toronto5but the ones here were obviously rabid Primal Fear fans. A crime if ever there was one, I’ll do my level headed best to make sure that Primal Fear does not remain a secret; perhaps piggy backing with another artist would have benefited both parties. After that opening track, that I later learned was titled “Final Embrace”, came my personal favorite selection off the Delivering the Black album with “Alive and on Fire”. The title track followed, and I studied the band noticing that Ralf was a big man with thick arms and a shiny bald cranium. With the Primal Fear logo tattooed on his left bicep and the Primal Fear “bird of prey” on the right he looks like he could invoke a deep down primal fear if you came across him in a dark alleyway. Bassist and co-founder along with Scheepers, Mat Sinner, a little shorter in stature and beefier around the mid section had flowing blonde locks while guitarist Beyrodt appeared to be quite a bit smaller than his band mates. Naumann sported shorter spiky blonde hair with Canadian Randy Black near totally encased behind his drum kit, and not much could be seen aside from the long jet black hair. Happily for me Primal Fear had chosen to include a good portion of that new Delivering the Black release in the set list as I only knew a couple of their other tunes. While not exactly a household name in North America, Primal Fear has been alive and on fire since 1997, issuing ten records behind the current effort and I’m in the process of acquiring that discography. In the set list from the back catalog we were treated to “Nuclear Fire”, “Seven Seals”, “AngPrimal Fear-Mod Club Torontoel in Black”, “Fighting the Darkness”, “Chainbreaker”, “Metal Is Forever” and “Bad Guys Wear Black”. “One Night in December”, and the epic “When Death Comes Knocking” joined their awesome counterparts from Delivering the Black although personally I wouldn’t have been upset it “King for a Day” from that album had found its way in there! The German power metallers left the stage, only to return a few minutes later as the crowd chants of “Primal Fear” resonated around the Mod Club. They left us with “Unbreakable Pt. 2” and “Running In the Dust” to close out a wicked night of German power metal molded in the vein of other such bands like Helloween.

Be sure to catch Primal Fear as the Germans roll through North America until May 24th, 2014, you won’t be sorry!

meister logoCheers,
The Meister





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