I could be cynical, it has been known, but why does the Metal world need a best of PRIMAL FEAR album. After all skipping back through their back catalogue only unveils six albums and a number of them are not going to be sitting in the classic Heavy Metal Albums of All Time Top 100. You’ll have to go back to 2001 and the release of the excellent ‘’Nuclear Fire’’ to capture PRIMAL FEAR at their over the top testosterone kerosene fuelled best; subsequent albums have trickled out promising much but delivering some peaks but too many troughs. In fact 2005’s ‘’Seven Seals’’ was possibly a step too far towards mainstream Rock sounds and for a band of PRIMAL FEAR’S all out Metal battering it was certainly contemporary but not exactly what was called for.
What PRIMAL FEAR has done on ‘’Metal Is Forever…’ is cheery pick the majority of their best tracks across the six albums and band them together into a collection that quite honestly leaves their back catalogue pretty much redundant unless you’re a completist and must have them all (don’t forget the Horrorscope cut to shape CD when you’re doing it) Some will argue but for all intents these sixteen songs manage more than successfully to pin down what PRIMAL FEAR is about. And since these are also the best fifteen songs the band has recorded (‘’Battalions Of Hate’’ and ‘’Eye Of An Eagle’’ are criminal omission) you’ve saved yourself time and money and got the money shot in one package.
Opening with the larynx shredding scream of ‘’Metal Is Forever’’ to the charging assault of ‘’Chainbreaker’’ from the debut ‘’Primal Fear’’ bypassing the contagious, melodramatic Rock-Metal sounds of ‘’Seven Seals’’ PRIMAL FEAR are not holding back on the bombast. The twin guitar intro to ‘’Nuclear Fire’’ is pure class PRIMAL FEAR. It’s tight, muscle bound razor sharp riffing Heavy Metal. ‘’Final Embrace’’ delves into the more Melodic but still decidedly Heavy side to PRIMAL FEAR’s music. ‘’The Healer’’ does slow things up and I can’t help but feel if this song where a bit more up-tempo it would deliver that bit more. ‘’Rollercoaster’’ tries hard but fails to stand up against the tectonic riffing of ‘’Black Sun’s’’ ‘’Armageddon’’ but still the mountain moving Metal assault continues unabated and unchallenged. It might all start to sound similar but the intent on ‘’Angel In Black’’ ‘’Running In The Dust’’ the quite gloriously titled ‘’Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove’’ and the enigmatic tour de force of ‘’Teatrs Of Rage’’ are fire and brimstone Metal by the numbers that PRIMAL FEAR excel at.
The JUDAS PRIEST comparison always rear its unwanted and in many regards unfounded head in any PRIMAL FEAR review but ‘’Metal Is Forever’’ is a testimony to a band who do the basic very well and whilst progression might not be a buzz word these sixteen songs do more than enough to convey the pure Heavy Metal spirit in their music.
(Online August 31, 2007)