By Carl Begai
Reviewing a power metal band is no more rocket scientific than the music itself. Babble on about divine guitar shred, godlike vocals, throw around terms like “old school” and “traditional” and you’re done. And while this formula has been applied to Primal Fear in the past, to do so in discussing their new outing, Delivering The Black, would be a huge disservice to the band and the fans. Primal Fear is one of those rare acts that, 10 studio albums into their career, are more vital and vibrant than they were at the beginning, and anyone that’s been following them since 1998 will have one hell of a time arguing the point in 2014. Picking up where Unbreakable (2012) left off and leaving said record choking in the dust, Delivering The Black is a brilliant energetic romp through familiar territory on a level that will make it a go-to classic of the genre 20 years from now.
Delivering The Black grabs hold immediately with ‘King For A Day’, seals the deal with ‘Rebel Faction’, and digs its claws so damn deep it’s a shock, especially if you’re expecting ho-hum power metal-isms. The guitar riffs are huge at the hands of Magnus Karlsson, Alex Beyrodt and founder/producer/bassist Mat Sinner, while drummer Randy Black delivers some of the best steel backbone work of his career (‘King For A Day’, ‘Inseminoid’, ‘Rebel Faction’, ‘Delivering The Black’). As for vocalist Ralf Scheepers…. pffffff… the man has come a LONG way since his days with Gamma Ray and Primal Fear’s early albums. He still has one of the best high-pitched shrieks this side of Tim “Ripper Owens, Rob Halford and Kai Hansen, and his low-end voice now boasts grit, balls and character that sets him well apart from his aforementioned peers. Fact is it’s hard to pick Scheepers’ crowning moment on Delivering The Black because there are so damn many of ’em (although ‘Rebel Faction’ is probably the best track to sum up his overall performance). Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
In recent years, Primal Fear bassist Mat Sinner has crossed over from the realms of metal and become a familiar face / presence to the mainstream rock crowd in parts of Europe. As one of the masterminds behind Rock Meets Classic – which is exactly what it sounds like – he has seen what started as a grand touring experiment morph into a highly anticipated packed-to-the-rafters annual event. Boasting the Mat Sinner Band and the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague as its foundation, Rock Meets Classic is gearing up for its fifth run in March / April 2014 featuring some of the finest rock vocalists/musicians the ’70s and ’80s has to offer. Previous outings with Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Steve Lukather (Toto), Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Dan McCafferty (Nazareth), Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) and Eric Bazilian (The Hooters) went over a storm, appealing to everyone from the unwashed metalheads to the husbands / wives that get out maybe twice a year, to the 65+ year-old pensioners who dress their best for the occasion. The 2014 installment of Rock Meets Classic is shaping up to be another blast for everyone involved regardless of whether they’re on stage or in the audience.
And while their names may not fill the seats to the extent the featured artists do, Sinner is equally focused on enlisting top notch musicians as members of the Rock Meets Classic backbone. No small wonder the roster hasn’t changed very much since the first run and now features four-fifths of Primal Fear
“If I’m able to give jobs to my bandmates so that they make some decent money on a nice tour, I will,” says Sinner. “And there’s a social part to it, where for example I’m not going to give the drummer position away to another drummer when I have Randy Black. I know Randy can play all this stuff, he’s got the skills, and I know he’s a big fan of some of these singers. Everybody was very, very happy with him on the last Rock Meets Classic tour. He told me he had the time of his life, so of course he wants to do the tour next year. If I can give something back to these guys, there’s nothing wrong with that.” Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
In a recent interview with Sinner bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner about the band’s new album, One Bullet Left, he offered BW&BK his thoughts and impressions on the forthcoming Primal Fear record, Unbreakable, which the band had just finished recording at press time. He reveals the band opted to go back to square one rather than trying to one-up their over-the-top 2009 effort, 16.6.
Following is the exclusive look into the record, due to be released on January 20th, 2012:
“We reduced the journeys to different styles of music on the new album,” Mat reveals. “I’m trying to find the right word… let’s just say there weren’t a lot of strange experiments. We went back to where we started with the riffs, meaning that the main riff is the main point in the song. That’s how we made music in Primal Fear when we first started (in 1997). With Magnus (Karlsson) and Alex (Beyrodt) on guitars, and Randy (Black) on drums, we have the strongest Primal Fear line-up ever, and the shows we’ve done recently prove that. We played Wacken this past summer, we just did some shows in Poland, and it was killer. We tried to get that vibe, that attitude, and put it on the album. We wrote songs that go back to the basics, and some fans will love them for that reason alone. You hear the riffs and you know it’s Primal Fear.”
“It will be a different album. If people want to hear totally innovative and new music, they shouldn’t wait for this album.”
Go to this location for the complete interview.
By Carl Begai
On June 2nd the lamest of lame-ass festival line-ups descended upon Nuremberg, Germany for the annual Rock im Park, guaranteed to impress only those tweens and under-35s that consider MTV and Glee quality programming. Several kilometers away in the city’s old town, veteran German rockers Sinner were down to the far more satisfying business of filming a video for the song ‘Back On Trail’, the first single from their forthcoming album One Bullet Left.
Following is a photo-documentary of the shoot, which took place at the – for lack of a better word – abandoned Volksbad (which must have been bloody impressive when it was fully operational). And if some of the mugs in the shots below look familiar, they should, as Sinner’s present line-up consists of guitarists Christof Leim (The New Black), Alex Scholpp (Tarja) and Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear) – yep, three of ’em – drummer André Hilgers (Rage), and last but never least, bassist and namesake Mat Sinner….