Lunatic's Serenade

Primal Fear/ Answer With Metal/
Sovereign Council @ The Mod Club
Saturday May 3, 2014

It was a fine Saturday night in Toronto to check out some superb German Power Metal, and when that said band is Primal Fear – then you know you are in for a real treat. The band performed at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club nestled in the heart of Little Italy, along with opening acts Sovereign Council and Answer With Metal.

The show opened shortly after 8:30pm and the first act Sovereign Council did their best to evoke some reaction from the crowd. Unfortunately, the band missed the mark completely with some poorly delivered vocals and guitars that were so low in the mix, that they were barely audible. Their set lasted 30 minutes, and thankfully when they got off the stage I couldn’t have been happier. The second opening act Answer With Metal proved their weight in gold once they ripped into several lively cuts from their Gates of Hell EP and self-titled debut. The band hailing from Stouffville, Ontario had a small but devoted following of friends and family wearing t-shirts and handing out stickers in the crowd. As for the music, they obviously worship at the altar of Iron Maiden and peppered their set with speedy and melodic numbers to which some fist pumping and head banging got the crowd moving.

At least they did their best to warm up the audience for the headlining act and once Primal Fear stormed the stage everyone was pumped. At this point, Ralf Scheepers and crew ripped into the opening number “Final Embrace” right off the bat, treating their fans to one of the strongest numbers from their sophomore release Jaws of Death. From there they tore into the first of several cuts from their latest effort Delivering the Black and boy did they ever get the crowd going. I think it’s safe to say that fans are really digging the new release, just based on the amount of fists pumping and sing-along chants in the audience.

We started with “Alive and on Fire” and then “Delivering the Black” going back to back to really amp up the crowd. Vocalist Scheepers is an incredible frontman, so he’s able to draw in the participation from the audience and throw it back out to them in spades. Just based on the first three songs, he was on fire and clearly you could see that he came to the dance prepared to blitz the fans with a series of choice cuts from the back catalogue.

He sounded so rabid when he announced “Nuclear Fire” as the next song and dove into it with reckless abandon. They then continued to dip into the past with “Seven Seals”, but came back to another new track “One Night in December” that sounded even better live with spot-on vocals.

"Vocalist Scheepers is an incredible frontman..."

You have to hand it to Scheepers for keeping up the energy throughout the 80 plus minute set. His timing on stage is impeccable and he knows how to utilize his guitarists, in particular during the trio of songs that comprise “Final Darkness” from their 2007 album New Religion. The song is basically constructed as a ballad, but at the half-way point it melts into an instrumental that allows Alex Beyrodt, Tom Neumann and Matt Sinner a chance to shine. This was no doubt a high-point in the show and it helped Scheepers bait his audience once again into another sing-along chant before diving headfirst into “Bad Guys Wear Black”.

The encore numbers that followed to close out the show were “Unbreakable part 2” – chosen for the fist pumping nature of the song, and “Running in the Dust” - a total crowd pleaser taken from the band’s debut. This song is a true metal anthem and just based on the reactions in the crowd this number sent everyone home happy, including yours truly. Primal Fear understands the benefits of performing live and they obviously feed off that fan interaction so much. The US tour is in full swing, so if you get the chance to catch them live this is one show well worth the price of admission.

Kenneth Gallant, Editor HMS

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