Do you know what one of my absolute favourite Power Metal songs of all time is? ‘Nuclear Fire’ by Primal Fear. Its up there with ‘When The Dragon Lies Bleeding’ ‘Eagle Fly Free’ and ‘Babylon’ by Hammerfall, Helloween and Edguy respectively as one of those songs I’d play to someone who wanted to know what Power Metal is, why its so good, what makes it a different type of music than NWOBHM or Thrash or whatever else and where it fits in the tapestry of Metal overall. That and it just plain rocks. Over the years I’ve tried to move away from just going with my gut or with cliches like ‘this kicks ass’ …but boy oh boy does ‘Nuclear Fire’ by Primal Fear kick some serious ass! Its the title-track from their 2001 album of the same name, one of the best in their back catalogue.
Primal Fear are a damn fine Metal band, connected to the ever growing Helloween extended family tree through Ralph Scheepers of Gamma Ray fame, who formed this band after Judas Priest auditions didn’t work out for him. Seemingly he just said, “fine then, I’ll make my own Judas Priest album, with blackjack and hookers” and started screeching his way to stardom over some seriously high quality music. Well, needless to say if you like the direction Priest took on Painkiller you’ll probably like this. There’s more to this than just ‘what if Painkiller was a whole band’ (tonnes and tonnes of Accept influence for a start) of course, but this over the top fist-pumping take on pure Heavy Metal does tickle the same part of the brain.
Check out ‘Red Rain’ ‘Angel In Black’ and ‘Kiss Of Death.’ If you want take your-shirt-off, screaming-from-a-mountain-top, majestic Heavy Metal this is dripping with it. Do you want the heavy chug of Thrash, the melodic moments of NWOBHM and classic Heavy Metal, thundering kick drums and seriously delightful guitar solos? Its all here and perfectly balanced. There’s no songs about elves and no keyboards to scare off new-comers to Power Metal, but all that fantastic grandeur it can summon up is here in abundance just done in a hard and satisfying way. ‘Fire On The Horizon’ for example just pounds it out like its trying to prove a point, it just sounds…determined. This album is so self assured and intense and well, Powerful! ‘Fight The Fire’ (three songs about fire on one album!?) sounds like a TV advert for an ’80s Action Movie Marathon.
Their first album was them searching for who they are, their second album was them finding who they are and this album is the crystallization and perfection of that formula. A perfect set of songs in that formula. Even catchier choruses, even better guitar heroics, even crunchier riffs. Arguably some of their best ever songs (especially ‘Nuclear Fire,’). This album just succeeds on every level. Its not overlong, its not repetitive, there’s no filler. For my money, one of their absolute best records and an absolute, unquestionable must own for any fan of the genre (and a damn good taste-trial for skeptics afraid of the flowers and goblins reputation of the genre).