On Sunday, July 20th, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong’s message from the moon, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. Eagle has landed” was transmitted to NASA’s Mission Control Center at 04:17:40 p.m. EDT. Given the various symbologies related to the eagle throughout time and across cultures, it is no coincidence that NASA named their Apollo 11 Lunar Module “Eagle,” as these majestic birds have long been associated with the highest pursuits. In addition to symbolizing strength, courage, and bravery, eagles are also undisputed masters of the sky. PRIMAL FEAR’s continued use of an eagle symbol makes this German band’s goals and achievements even more meaningful, and their sixth studio album, Seven Seals, is no exception.
Founded by seasoned performer and bassist Mat Sinner (Sinner) and former Gamma Ray vocalist Ralf Scheepers, their purpose was two-fold: 1) further the groundwork laid down by fellow countrymen Helloween, Grave Digger, Accept, and Rage; and 2) rise to the top of the traditional metal scene. With guitarist Tom Neumann and drummer Klaus Sperling completing the inaugural PRIMAL FEAR line-up, the new band accomplished both goals with amazing agility following the release of their self-titled debut album (with iron eagle artwork) in 1998 (which appeared at #48 on the German Media Control Album Chart) and their follow-up album (which debuted their new second guitarist Stefan Leibing and artwork of a hunting eagle), 1999’s Jaws Of Death (#49 on the same chart). The reward? A headlining world tour through countries such as Brazil, Spain, and Japan, where a specific strain of PRIMAL FEAR hysteria broke free.
Sadly, PRIMAL FEAR had to find a replacement for guitarist Tom Neumann after the tour and recruited ex-Thunderhead / fellow Sinner member Henny Wolter. Following a euphoric show in their hometown of Esslingen, Germany debuting the new line-up, the band began pre-production on their eagle-graced third album, Nuclear Fire (hailed by many as the true spiritual successor to Judas Priest’s Painkiller), which not only debuted at #23 on the Japanese album charts, #37 on the German charts, #71 in Italy, and #77 in Switzerland, but also gave the world the live show staple “Angel In Black.” Gathering enormous momentum, PRIMAL FEAR hit the road and played to packed audiences with Children Of Bodom and Sacred Steel in over 10 countries, in addition to playing the Gods Of Metal, Bloodstock, Graspop, Wacken, and Summer Breeze festivals. Not content with their European success, PRIMAL FEAR set their eyes on North America and performed at the New Jersey Metal Meltdown III and then co-headlined the 2001 Milwaukee Metal Fest. Not surprisingly, their tiresome work ethic made Nuclear Fire their best-selling album. As predicted by their album artwork, their eagle certainly dropped a bomb on us all!
With such an unrelenting work ethic, PRIMAL FEAR hit (the reportedly haunted) Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas to record their science fiction-tinged concept album Black Sun, which also featured guitar solos from Metal Mike Chlasciak on “Fear,” and “Controlled.” With the album charting in Germany at #55, PRIMAL FEAR launched a successful 11-country European tour, but suffered the loss of guitarist Henny Wolter, who needed to tend to private commitments. PRIMAL FEAR invited founding member Tom Naumann back into the fold (who gladly accepted the offer) prior to their tour of South America. Riding yet another thrust of momentum, the band – joined by then touring drummer Randy Black (ex-Annihilator) due to Sperling’s injury – were invited to participate on the multi-band Metal Gods North American Tour featuring Halford, Testament, Immortal, Carnal Forge, Pain Museum, and Amon Amarth. Regretfully, the tour was abruptly cancelled. Strong with the force of their new line-up, PRIMAL FEAR returned to play various festivals throughout Europe and crowned their hectic activity off by announcing Randy Black as their new permanent drummer.
Eager to seek out new challenges and provide worldwide fans with a genuine show of gratitude for their support, PRIMAL FEAR released their first DVD in 2003, The History Of Fear, which included a bonus live CD. At House Of Music Studios in Germany, work soon began on their fifth studio album, Devil’s Ground, which was produced by Mat Sinner and engineered by Achim Kohler. With the opportunity to co-headline in the U.S. at the second annual BWBK Six-Pack Weekend in Cleveland, PRIMAL FEAR climbed another rung on the ladder of their success as Revolver Magazine rabidly praised the new album: “With Maiden-worthy licks like black knights fighting over the queen of darkness, vocalist Ralf Scheepers sings like a Viking with his balls caught in a chromium vice. Fuck the Judas Priest reunion; This is the real deal.” Headlining sold-out shows in South America followed in addition to festival appearances in Europe. No doubt about it: the PRIMAL FEAR eagle was spotted soaring high around the world.
With the majestic grace that is reached through hard work, PRIMAL FEAR offer us Seven Seals for 2005. Much like the reputation of eagles, Seven Seals embodies tenacity. Punctuated with the fierce confidence the band have in themselves and each other, this new album proudly showcases their gift of clear vision for the fearless goals PRIMAL FEAR aspire to. Recorded at House of Music studio in Germany with Charlie Bauerfiend (Blind Guardian / HammerFall), and mixed at Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, B.C. by Mike Fraser (Metallica, AC/DC, Aerosmith), Seven Seals reveals a more lyrically reflective side in the soul-rousing anthems the band have become famous for. Fans will quickly notice the different vocal range utilized by Ralf Scheepers, and will surely appreciate the hard-rocking “Rollercoaster” & “The Immortal Ones,” the panoramic soundscape of “Seven Seals” & “Diabolus” (which required 107 tracks!), and the adrenaline-fueled “Evil Spell,” which is definitely one of PRIMAL FEAR’s fastest songs to date.
Take heed, connoisseurs of traditional metal: PRIMAL FEAR’s ascension will continue to ride on eagle’s wings, and there’s no landing in sight…