ANGELS OF MERCY
9.5 OUT OF 10
RUNNING TIME: 1.15:45
Release Date: 02/06/2017
I have been a fan of Primal Fear ever since I first heard Angel in Black many moons ago, so it really was a no-brainer when asked to review it. BUT, I really should have read the blurb about the album BEFORE I listened to it. Angels of Mercy is, in fact, a live album, and really one of my pet hates.
Now, I know there have been plenty of fantastic live albums over the years from Kiss Alive to Queen’s Live Killers to Live and Dangerous by Thin Lizzy, but they just do not appeal to me. Having listened to the studio albums first I have learnt the words and the music of the STUDIO version and this completely goes out the window with a live album, leaving me singing words they have missed out or omitting ones they have put in. (The ONLY exception to this rule is Kiss’s Strutter as the live version is the first one I heard and therefore my favourite.)
But, having said all that, this album kicks serious ass!
First, a bit of history.
Primal Fear, for those who don’t know (and if you don’t, where have you been living for the past twenty years?) are a German power metal band formed in 1997 by Ralf Scheepers and Matt Sinner. Both men had been involved in the metal scene for a long time, Scheepers had previously been with bands Tyran Pace, FBI and internationally recognised band, Gamma Ray, before setting up his own Judas Priest tribute band Just Priest, which Matt and Tom Naumann helped him with. (Scheepers was also turned down as replacement for Rob Halford when he left Judas Priest, something I think, we, as metal fans, should be grateful for. Not only did Judas Priest gain a fantastic singer in Tim ”Ripper” Owens but we also got one of the greatest ever german metal bands.)
The band signed with Nuclear Blast in 1997 and their debut album “Primal Fear” was released on 1998, entering the German charts at number 48, one of the highest chart positions for a debut band in German metal, and they also toured with metal veterans, Running Wild and Hammerfall.
Their biggest mainstream success was with 2012’s album “Unbreakable” which entered the charts in no less than eight different countries and was the first time they hit the US Billboard Heatseekers chart, peaking at number 44.
Angels of Mercy is the band’s first live album since 2010 and is their first ever live Blu Ray dvd (I unfortunately don’t have this) and unleashes the best Primal Fear performances since the band formed, with a mix of power, ambition and enthusiasm, as well as their great talents as musicians.
Rewind a little back to 2016 which was a busy year for the band. Their eleventh studio album “Rulebreaker” was released and on the back of this, the band entered a world-wide tour that shattered all previously held records for shows played in one year by the band. And it was in a smaller venue in Stuttgart that Angels of Mercy was recorded.
With elements of pure thrash metal, traditional heavy metal and 1970’s European hard rock, the audio on this cd is clear and crisp and the production is fantastic. If it wasn’t for the sound of the audience and Ralf Scheepers speaking in his very good English, you would be forgiven for thinking this wasn’t a live album at all.
The band’s energy is apparent, and it is clear they want the fans to have a good time just as they, themselves, do. This is the first time I have heard them live and it has given me a hunger to actually see them perform at a gig. The set list is excellent, featuring a great mix of older stuff for the more seasoned fans and newer music for all the newbies. Gold star, also, for including my favourite Primal Fear track of all time, Rollercoaster (the first song I attached to my old Myspace page – remember them?)
The notes to the album state that “this live album offers a barrage of metal anthems in their full glory that will please any headbanger” and that is exactly what it is. It is traditional, balls in your face, heavy metal full of pounding drums and heavy guitar riffs and Scheepers voice just seems to get better and better.
This album really is a MUST for any metal fan and I, for one, am now looking forward to the new album Apocalypse, the band’s twelfth studio album, which is due for release in mid-2018.
In the words of the great band themselves….
……METAL IS FOREVER!!!
- 1. Countdown to Insanity
- 2. Final Embrace
- 3. In Metal We Trust
- 4. Angel in Black
- 5. Rulebreaker
- 6. Sign of Fear
- 7. Seven Seals
- 8. Angels of Mercy
- 9. The End Is Near
- 10. Rollercoaster
- 11. The Sky Is Burning
- 12. Nuclear Fire
- 13. When Death Comes Knocking
- 14. Metal Is Forever
- 15. Fighting the Darkness
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities