Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

W:O:A Road Show 2004
Malmö, Sweden
April 22nd, 2004

Review and Pictures By Anders Sandvall

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The famous metal festival, Wacken, from Germany, is headed out on tour through Europe to promote their festival. The tour is set up so they’re having a mini-festival in every town they’re coming to. When they landed in Malmö Sweden they had only done shows in Stockholm and Gothenburg; no other shows in Scandinavia were planned. They day after Malmö they headed down to Hamburg Germany and then continued to conquer the rest of Europe. The bands are all German acts. The supporting bands were Dark Age and Metalium. The special guests were Freedom Call and the headline act was Primal Fear. The only continental influence amongst these bands was the Canadian drummer Randy Black (ex-Annihilator) in Primal Fear.

I met up with the very nice Randy Black earlier that day when I waited for the bands. He sat down beside me out on the sidewalk to catch some sun. He told me that Primal Fear were supposed to be support Iced Earth on their European tour but when they cancelled Primal Fear had to get on some other tour package in order to support their new album. He also said that for the first time ever Primal Fear is going to tour through South America and Mexico later this year. Mr. Black was very interested of how it went for Debase, the metal icons from Malmö. They toured together when Randy was in Annihilator. He has also been out to look at Malmö and he thought that it was a very beautiful city with some really nice architectural features and houses.

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The concert started 20 minutes earlier than scheduled because of the many groups and the limited time they had. The support acts got about 35 minutes each and Freedom Call got about an hour. When Dark Age got on stage there was very few people in the crowd, only about 50 people had arrived. When it was the headliner acts turn the crowd was about 150 (KB has a capacity of about 750 people).

Of these 4 bands I focused only on Primal Fear who released the new album DEVIL’S GROUND at the beginning of this year. That album is a brilliant performance of how German heavy metal should be played. The changes between the other bands went really fast because they used the same equipment but when Freedom Call got off the stage it took a bit longer because they had to change gear.

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Then it was time for Tom, Ralf, Matt, Stefan and Randy to enter KB’s stage. They delivered about 1hr15mins of old as well as new material. The main focus was, of course, on the new album. They played 13 tracks and they started out with the title track of the new album. 6 of the songs were from the new record, the rest was from the older ones. From “DEVIL’S GROUND” they did “SUICIDE AND MANIA”; “THE HEALER” and “METAL IS FOREVER”. The older songs they did were “ANGEL IN BLACK”; “CHAINBREAKER”; “NUCLEAR FIRE” and “FINAL EMBRACE” among others.

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They didn’t have any extra stuff on stage so the band had quite a place to move around on, which Matt and Ralf sure did they moved across the whole stage. The guitarists Tom and Stefan were more laid back and concentrated more on playing guitar. Especially Stefan showed his skills on guitar. Matt was all over the stage and banged his head all through the show. In “RUNNING IN THE DUST” he took over the chorus so you almost couldn’t hear Tom. Randy is a genius behind the drums and he didn’t disappoint anyone this night.

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All of the guys seemed very happy to be on tour through Sweden. Ralf talked a lot between the songs and he said that he thought it was very nice to be back in Sweden and thanked the fans for being there this Thursday evening. Ralf also talked about the show they did at Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago and it must have given him a real good impression of Sweden because he talked about that show a great deal. Ralf looks very terrifying with his impressive height and muscles but he seemed very nice anyway because he invited us to sing a long in “RUNNING IN THE DUST” and “METAL IS FOREVER”. He also seemed very pleased with their new album and said that everyone who hadn’t bought it yet could purchase it at the show.

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As most know, Primal Fear has some similarities with the legendary English band Judas Priest. Ralf’s voice is in the same register as Mr. Halford and like him Ralf sounds like he can cut glass with his voice. Some of Ralf’s moves also reminded me of Mr. Halford. Music wise, Primal Fear sounds a bit like Judas Priest but they have up dated their sound for the 21st century. If you put that aside it doesn’t take away the fact that Primal Fear play very heavy metal and they sure looked energetic this Thursday evening.

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I think it’s fun that the festival goes out on tour and shows some bands. This may indeed drag more people to the Wacken festival. However, it wouldn’t hurt if they had a broader band list. I mean, a more varied band scene with some more different musical directions. This time they only had German heavy metal and German melodic power metal with Freedom Call.

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Thanks to the staff at KB for being so nice to me at the show!

Setlist
Privation of Faith
Devil’s Ground
Angel in Black
Chainbreaker
Suicide and Mania
Running in the Dust
Visions of Fate
Nuclear Fire
The Healer
Battalions of Hate
Metal is Forever
Final Embrace

Encores
Colony 13
Heart of a Brave