It was perhaps one of the wettest, most miserable nights I'd experienced in New York City in many years...not living in the city but close to 2 hours north, it not only was a pain getting there in the flooding, relentless rain, but even worse navigating to the Stage 48 venue, which is kind of out of the way on the West side, not easy to gain access to via mass transit. Needless to say, by the time I arrived, I was soaked and not in the best mood, but thankfully, I knew I had a good 90 minute set from German power metal veterans Primal Fear to look forward to. As I was able to catch them a few years ago on their last trip to the US, I knew I was in for a great night of melodic power metal, and the band did not disappoint.
The rain no doubt kept some metal fans away, as the roughly 200 in attendance was much less than the last time the band hit NYC, but the crowd was completely into the performance and easily sounded double that number, if not more. With the always towering presence of superhuman vocalist Ralf Scheepers at center stage, the band, guitarist Alex Beyrodt, drummer Randy Black, bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner, and returning guitarist Tom Naumann (one of the original members, filling in for Magnus Karlsson, who never seems to be able to make it over here for live dates), fire through selections from the latest CD Delivering the Black along with some more recent and older favorites.
Off the new album, "Alive & On Fire" kicks major ass, as does the title track and "When Death Comes Knocking". The more epic "One Night in December" shows how well the band are at putting together melodic power metal with huge hooks, and this song slots in quite nicely alongside the unforgettable "Fighting the Darkness" off the excellent Seven Seals album, of which the title track was also played on this night. Off their previous Unbreakable album, the band gave us heavy versions of the title track as well as "Bad Guys Wear Black", though sadly, nothing from the fine 16.6 release from 2009. To fill in the gaps during the rest of the show, the band dug way back into the catalog for the rampaging "Nuclear Fire", their anthem "Angel in Black" (as kick ass a power metal song if there ever was one), as well as the mandatory "Chainbreaker", "Metal is Forever", and the fist pumping, energetic closer "Running in the Dust", which sent everyone home happy.
An early evening, the show was over by around 10:30PM, but the weather outside had not yet relented, but thankfully all in attendance had some great heavy metal memories to swirl around in the heads for their trip home. It was a LOUD evening, but the crowd was great and the band really delivered. Scheepers was his amazing self (one of the most underrated vocalists in metal), and the guitar tandem of Beyrodt & Naumann provided a non stop assortment of crunchy riffs and screaming, squealing guitar solos. Toss in the rock solid rhythms from Sinner & Black, and you have another powerhouse performance from Primal Fear, who left all the fans waiting for their next visit to the Big Apple.
Alive & On Fire
Delivering the Black
One Night in December
Angel in Black
When Death Comes Knocking
Fighting the Darkness
(Fighting the Darkness, The Darkness, Reprise)
Bad Guys Wear Black
Metal Is Forever
Unbreakable Pt. 2
Running in the Dust