If there was ever anyone who desperately needed a new PRIMAL FEAR live album it was me. Remember, I only got into these guys by accident on a December evening in 2013 and immediately devoured the entire catalog. But something about a more recent live release makes it cooler for me because I have been SO fortunate to see them the last two tours (many thanks go to my dear friend Dustin Hardman for that!), and loved every second of both shows. So, to have this souvenir in the form of Angels of Mercy – Live In Germany (out now, Frontiers Music) feels like this is my live album, as silly as that may sound.
There are classics galore on this disc of both the old and new variety. From the opener “Final Embrace” to more recent anthem “In Metal We Trust” vocalist Ralf Scheepers is in top form. The band behind him (guitarists Tom Naumann and Alex Beyrodt, bassist Mat Sinner, and drummer Francesco Jovino) provide the sonic landscape over which his vocals soar, and with each song I was reminded once again how amazing it was to be in the room! “Angel of Fire” is one of the most ferocious tunes on this disc, as is “The End Is Near” from latest record Rulebreaker. And changing things up tempo-wise “Seven Seals” sounds every bit as good as its studio counterpart.
Another one that is a bit on the mellower side is “The Sky is Burning” also from the latest record, and oh wow, this version gave me chills it’s so goddamn good. The chorus always stays with me for days after I hear it, and as I’ve stated here before the solo is simply breathtaking. Another new track “Angels of Mercy” has rows of shark teeth live and the band is hitting the punching bag full force. “Sign of Fear” really shows what an excellent singer Scheepers is live as does “Nuclear Fire” from the album of the same name.
Now if I had one complaint it is simply that my favorite PRIMAL FEAR album Delivering the Black is sorely under-represented. Even though the lone track chosen for the tour/album was a great one in “When Death Comes Knocking” (Mini-Amps’ all-time favorite!) I still would love to have heard “King For a Day” or “One Night In December,” but that’s just me. Another absolute highlight is “Rollercoaster” which totally fucking jams. The band goes full throttle on a blistering version of “Metal Is Forever” before closing out the CD (I don’t have the DVD yet!) of this live set with “Fighting the Darkness,” nine minutes of greatness.
I love live albums, always have, always will. And PRIMAL FEAR have certainly delivered a most enjoyable one here with Angels of Mercy – Live In Germany. The guys really go hard playing these tunes and the set is very well-paced just like it was when I caught them in Dallas and Philly. If you’ve never gotten to see them live, then pick this one up, crank it loud, and just bide your time till next tour. And when they DO come to your city, you had better go, or you’ll be kicking yourself for years, possibly eternity!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “When Death Comes Knocking”, “The Sky Is Burning”, “Angel of Fire”, “The End Is Near”, “Sign of Fear”, “In Metal We Trust”