I’m not what you’d call a serious Primal Fear fan. Don’t get me wrong, I generally enjoy their brand of Judas Priest-worshipping German power metal, and I think their last album (New Religion) is one of the decade’s best power metal releases, but I never found their earlier albums to be quite as essential. They were always solid and professional, but they tended towards repetition. That’s where a compilation like Metal is Forever (great title, by the way) comes in handy.
Metal is Forever: The Very Best of Primal Fear pulls together the best material from Primal Fear’s back catalog, with 3 songs from 1998’s Primal Fear, 2 from 1999’s Jaws of Death, 3 from 2001’s Nuclear Fire, 2 from 2002’s Black Sun, 3 from 2004’s Devil’s Ground, and 3 from 2005’s Seven Seals. The songs aren’t in chronological order, so the transition between songs is sometimes very noticeable. Still, this is a very comprehensive overview of what Primal Fear’s studio albums, and you definitely get a good idea of the kind of metal former Gamma Ray frontman (and contender to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest) Ralf Scheepers and Sinner mainman Mat Sinner have unleashed on the world.
If that weren’t enough, Metal is Forever also includes a bonus disc with 9 completely predictable (and completely awesome) cover songs. On this disc, Primal Fear takes on Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Accept, Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Led Zeppelin. It would have been cool to see them take on the Scorpions and Helloween, but for the most part I think they covered all the bases here.
If you’re new to the band and are looking for a good place to start, Metal is Forever is the way to go, though you’ll definitely want to check out New Religion as well. If, like me, you enjoy what Primal Fear has to offer but don’t feel compelled to own their whole discography, Metal is Forever is a very worthwhile purchase.