It’s been seven years and three albums since Teutonic power metal institution Primal Fear released a live album (2010’s LIVE IN THE U.S.A.), so I guess the time is ripe for another one. Amazingly, vocalist Ralf Scheepers and bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner are the only band members that played on the last one!
Recorded in their home country of Germany, ANGELS OF MERCY is an expected walk through the band’s career thus far, with emphasis on their latest album (2016’s RULEBREAKER). Given this is a home turf show, the club crowd is loud and energetic throughout the album, though they are mixed a bit low so you have to really listen to catch their participation. Naturally the band are the stars of the show and they deliver on all fronts. Naumann and Beyrodt’s riffs sound excellent, new boot Francesco Jovino’s drums are thunderous and even at 52 years of age, Scheepers remains one of the most spectacular vocalists around. Not to ignore the band’s beating heart, Mat Sinner, but he is mixed pretty low, so his bass lines don’t really stand out.
As for the track list, it covers 15 cuts from eight of the band’s eleven studio albums, going back to JAWS OF DEATH. The self-titled debut’s “Running in the Dust” actually closed the show but was omitted from the CD, giving us the odd ending of “Fighting the Darkness”. It’s odd, but the epic workout somehow effectively closes off the album. Poring over the song list, it’s easy to be reminded of just how many awesome metal anthems this band has written.
Having seen them live in a club on this very tour in 2016, I can truly say that the album captures the Primal Fear live sound perfectly, even if it doesn’t quite give you the sense of excitement that being there in person can (grab the DVD or Blu-Ray for a better taste and complete set list!). This is a great live album from a band that never fails to deliver the goods.
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