Mat/Henny - Primal Fear
On the very same night as we witnessed Primal Fear play live in the USA, in Louisville, Kentucky, Wendy and I were granted a full band interview and permission to board their bus, in order to discuss everything related to all members. I was even blessed with sharing a few words with Pamela Moore, which initiates the sacred gathering.
After we would willingly break the chains, we enjoyed some good German beer, and some great conversation with the boys back in town. I mostly spoke with Hendrik "Henny" Wolter and occasionally with Mat Sinner; however, each member did contribute his input, here and there. I invite you all into the cherished time we spent together, our vital embrace, Metal is forever!
MettleAngel: Pamela, I was so surprised to learn that you are touring with Primal Fear. How did all of this come about?
MettleAngel: Oh really, was this your first experience seeing them?
MettleAngel: This then became a reality with last year's Prog Power, right?
MettleAngel: I am sure fans were blown away. Primal Fear worked with Simone Simmons on their last album for the song "Every Time It Rains". You, however, did not perform that song, instead you did "Fighting The Darkness".
MettleAngel: That song includes everyone in the band singing along. For this US jaunt, you are also performing "Seven Seals" with Ralph, as a duet. I imagine your being on this tour is quite a surprise to many fans?
MettleAngel: So tell me, Pam, who is a better vocalist, Ralph Scheepers or Geoff Tate?
(Ralph jumps in)
MettleAngel: I agree, he had the pipes about 20 years ago, but now he is bald, and no longer a beautiful singer, as I feel that his voice has become so strained.
MettleAngel: I sort of assumed that. Pamela, thank you so much for adding a few words before I begin my conversation with Henny, here. I want to go on the record that 'Operation Mindcrime' is still the best concept album of all time, and you will always be "Sister Mary" to me.
MettleAngel: Your voice is truly amazing! (I now turn to Henny who offers me a Heineken), hey brother it is an honour to finally meet you. I really like your guitar playing.
(Just then, Alex Beyrodt interjects)
MettleAngel: I love your style too, dude. I have all the Silent Force albums, and I paid a pretty penny for the debut. I reviewed your Voodoo Circle album last year.
MettleAngel: Yes, but not as much as the Silent Force material. I was so pleased to hear that you were on this tour, as well. You and Henny make such a good team. You two really ham it up on stage. I love your work with Sinner, as well!
MettleAngel: I will, please send me a copy. Henny, you have been with Primal Fear for quite a while, right? You left in 2003, and then returned in 2007.
MettleAngel: I love 'Nuclear Fire', but '16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead)' has really grown on me.
MettleAngel: Wow! I thought 'Black Sun' did better than 'Nuclear Fire'; especially, since you made the video for "Armageddon", which you dropped from the set list.
MettleAngel: That sucks! Mat, what do you feel is the best Sinner album?
MettleAngel: I have the cheesy promo copy, which is a glorified CD-R. It comes in a plain manilla slipcase. I was not overly impressed, with my initial listens. I mean, sure, it is a good album, with plenty of Thin Lizzy worship, but I prefer the Nuclear Blast era albums like 'Judgement Day', 'Nature Of Evil', 'End of Sanctuary', 'There Will Be Execution, etc.
MettleAngel: Those albums are just heavier and more melodic, like Primal Fear. I really like the early Noise Records albums too; especially, 'Fast Decision' and 'Danger Zone'. Those had a more Running Wild, Scanner, Priest, Accept, feel.
MettleAngel: I was surprised that you left Nuclear Blast Records. I understand Mat, that you used to work for them, as a label representative.
MettleAngel: I felt that Primal Fear were up there with Hammerfall and Edguy. I assume that everything is working out for you now with being signed to Frontiers Records?
MettleAngel: You are also the heaviest band on the label. They mostly deal in Hard and Classic Rock, and those has been "Big Hair" bands of the '80s.
MettleAngel: Nuclear Blast were very good to you though, right?
MettleAngel: I do appreciate Frontiers, and I am so glad they dropped the voice over promos, when they converted to podcast. I just got the new Y&T, who are now signed to the label.
MettleAngel: I like it, even if it is more bluesey, than their Classic material. It is definitely their most X rated album. They must be taking their cue from Steel Panther.
MettleAngel: Well let us just say, Dave Meniketti is now stealing musically from Foreigner and singing about chronic habituation.
MettleAngel: Here's the deal, I know Y&T like to sing about sex, and that is cool, but to write a song about the joys of masturbation, like Anvil did with "Five Knuckle Shuffle", is just a bit much. When I see Y&T with Icarus Witch in August, I plan to ask him about this.
MettleAngel: Another thing I find interesting about Primal Fear is that you are often labelled as being Power Metal, but you really are not, are you?
MettleAngel: You are pure Traditional German Metal. You are Teutonic Steel with Accept and Scorpions as your main influence. Ralph, you are Germany's answer to Rob Halford.
MettleAngel: Maybe so, but you do not use a teleprompter when you forget the lyrics to "Freewheel Burning", "Hell Patrol", or "Dissident Aggressor". Sometimes I think Rob should ask the bands who do amazing covers to help him out with remembering the words. Ralph, when you were with Gamma Ray, you did a killer version of "Exciter".
MettleAngel: I agree, and Ralph, or Mat, you might find this amusing, but when I first heard the single for the forthcoming new Accept album, and once I watched the video, I told all my friends to check it out because Accept now sound like Primal Fear and Sinner, even without Udo on vocals.
MettleAngel: Can you believe that things have come full circle, and now Accept are influenced by the sounds of today, popularized by both great aforementioned acts, and many more? It is like when Priest took their cue from Pantera and created 'Painkiller'.
MettleAngel: (Ha, ha) I am always watching you. I love your work with Tyran Pace. I think you would have done a great job in Priest, but in a way I am glad that you did not get the gig, because Ripper added new levels to the Judas Priest sound, and thankfully, you and Mat decided to form Primal Fear.
MettleAngel: I am so glad that this is the case, just as Kai Hansen from Gamma Ray did with Helloween. This is so important to the fans.
MettleAngel: I assume it will have a variety of musical styles. Hell, even Halford just did a Christmas album! Do you plan to do any covers?
MettleAngel: Man, that sounds awesome. This is another thing I love about Primal Fear, is that some of my favourite songs are the slower ones. They are not necessarily ballads, but they are so emotional and evocative. Take a song like "Tears Of Rage", I mean, WOW!
MettleAngel: I'm so glad that you do. I really like Edguy, Avantasia and Hammerfall, but some of their ballads are so lame. Sometimes they remind me of the Swedish act Europe who wrote horrible ballads in the '80s.
MettleAngel: This is even more incredible, since you do not have a full time keyboardist. Who may I ask writes the majority of the music, and/or lyrics?
MettleAngel: I always wondered what was the meaning of this song. I assumed it was apocalyptic, as several of the Primal Fear songs deal with eschatological themes.
MettleAngel: Definitely! Songs such as "Armageddon", "Seven Seals", "Nuclear Fire", etc. all deal with this. All those Nuclear Blast Sinner albums seemed to have had an "End Times" aspect as well.
MettleAngel: I assumed they were coordinates on a map or something.
MettleAngel: It figures, as this is another textbook example example of Occam's Razor, I should always go with the most likely solution. Henny, how do you balance your time with playing in Sinner?
MettleAngel: Primal Fear did an excellent version of "Question Of Honour" on the 'New Religion' album. Mat, I am so pleased that you are keeping Sinner active as well.
MettleAngel: I see what you mean, the "revolving door" effect. Dio and Whitesnake had this ongoing frustration, as well.
MettleAngel: Alex, I am sure you are happy you made this choice?
MettleAngel: The crowds are not as big as I am sure you are accustomed to overseas?
MettleAngel: We drove down here ourselves, and we often drive to see our favourite bands, who seldom play in Cincinnati. However, this also makes the show so much more worthwhile.
(Suddenly we hear our dog barking in the car, and prepare to exit the bus, when the band asks us to bring her to them, so they can meet and play with her)
MettleAngel: I am so grateful that we got a chance to meet the band, and hang out. Thank You for welcoming our dog Lady Maggie Beth with open arms.
MettleAngel: Maggie is almost six months and she is mixed breed between a Border Collie and Beagle...
(Just then drummer Randy Black, the only "American" comes up to pet Maggie, and joins in on all the fun, or is it pure chaos?)
MettleAngel: Dude, it is an honour to meet you as well. You are an incredible drummer. I love your work with Annihilator. I am amazed that you have stayed with Primal Fear for almost seven years, after the departure of Klaus Sperling, who is now also in Sinner.
MettleAngel: You mean, 'Annihilator'...
MettleAngel: It is decent, like the last few. Critics think it is a return to form like the new Megadeth. I do not think it is nearly as good as 'All For You' or 'Schizo Deluxe'.
MettleAngel: You played on 'Waking The Fury' and 'Double Live Annihilation' before you left the band.
MettleAngel: You mean 'Master Control'. I love the albums he did with Overkill too. I never did get a chance to hear Ramrod though.
MettleAngel: Joe did a demo in '94 with Sebastian Marino who also played with Liege Lord, and of course Anvil. This is what they decided to call the band. This demo is how they got the Overkill gig.
MettleAngel: Primal Fear have a new DVD coming out in June, why did you choose to call it 'Live In The USA'?
MettleAngel: On this tour you altered the set list a bit to include some older songs, like "Running In The Dust", a song of which I am not a big fan. Ralph this is your version of Gamma Ray's "Space Eater" or Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming".
MettleAngel: I like the video on the "Doomsday News" VHS. You had curly hair back then. I am grateful you are playing "Seven Seals" on this tour; especially, with Pamela singing with you!
MettleAngel: I was hoping you would have the DVD at your merch booth tonight, but I know you cannot break street date. I did purchase the last two albums on CD, and I bought a shirt to show my support.
MettleAngel: I am dedicated. I think I spent half of my paycheck to get those Tyran' Pace albums back in the day. I just wish I had the lyrics to those albums.
MettleMaiden: We want to send out our appreciation to everyone. Thank You for this interview, and for taking the time to indulge two fans of all of your bands. We love the new album, and are so grateful that you came close enough for us to see you live.
MettleAngel: Thank you, Mat, I look forward to the new Sinner album which is all "Peace & Love" type lyrics. You should check out the new Pretty Maids, as it seems they too are now influenced by you, well that and The Who, of course.
MettleAngel: We had a blast! We will always treasure this moment! (MettleMaiden:) Yes, thank you for everything. I am new to both Primal Fear and Sinner, but ever since Michael introduced me to them, I have become a big fan. I love the title track to the new album, it is so catchy!
MettleAngel: Definitely, and I plan to write a live review to promote the band even moreso.
MettleAngel: We would have loved to see you in 2003 when you toured with Halford, but Wendy was pregnant. I would love to see Sinner live too.
MettleAngel: I will, I promise, but I seriously doubt that I will choose it over 'Nature Of Evil' or the guitar duo stylings on 'End Of Sanctuary'.
MettleAngel: You are all welcome! After all, as you well know, "Metal is forever, in every single matter!"
See also: review of the gig the same night