Max Watts, Sydney NSW
November 17th, 2018
Supports: Sinner and Horizons Edge
The last time Primal Fear were in Sydney they played in a virtual closet in Newtown, so this venue is much more fitting for the German heavy weights. However, not only are we witnessing the mighty Primal Fear tonight, we are also being graced by the presence of Sinner, a pioneer of the European metal scene. The link between these two tonight, is the one and only Mat Sinner (bass player/songwriter for Primal Fear and bass player/songwriter/vocalist for Sinner). There is a nice feel in the room tonight and the punters are mainly old school, mainstream metalheads, you rightfully won’t find a Disturbed or Limp Bizkit shirt here tonight! My only concern is the overall numbers, I don’t know what’s going on in Sydney tonight, but there are nowhere near enough people here, considering the bands reputation and history, and the number of heavy metal fans in this town.
First up are Australian melodic outfit Horizon Edge. Now this outfit has a direct link to the mighty Primal Fear, with their lead vocalist Kate Sproul having recorded the tracks for their latest album under the direction of no other than Ralf Scheepers. Now a lot of the crowd were quite familiar with their material tonight and they went down quite well. Horizons Edge are a band who have matured a lot over the last few years. The band are very tight and they have definitely turned up to play. I was very impressed with Dan Moloney behind the drum stool, he is a strong percussionist. The guitar attack is solid and they carry off the bands material. For me, however, the vocals do not really grab me. The performance, the sound or the melody are not in question here, in my opinion, but I just didn’t really feel it tonight. Despite my opinion, Horizons Edge went down pretty well and it will be interesting to see how they develop further over the next few years and albums.
By the time Sinner hit the stage the floor is ready for metal. The band comes out, no bells and whistles, and just got into the set. The thing I have always admired about this band is the sincerity. They never try to be something they are not and they are here to play and totally enjoy what they do. With a back catalogue like this band, some seventeen albums strong, the set list is always a challenge, the band focuses a little on the latest album Tequila Suicide, and a spattering of older material. The new album is definitely a Sinner album, however, it has a modern feel and some news sounds are creeping in to the band’s music, which is refreshing. The audience are well acquainted with material and seem to be over the moon in experiencing the bands set some thirty-six years into their career, and their debut set down under. Matt Sinner is amazing and the absolute stand out for me. He commands the space with an air of confidence and conviction that it totally void of arrogance; refreshing traits to have within this industry. The band have also recruited a young female Italian singer and she was amazing tonight, a real talent, who definitely brings something different to the band. The set is over very quickly and highlights for me include ‘Concrete Jungle‘, ‘Danger Zone‘, ‘Tequila Suicide‘, ‘Knife in My Heart‘ and the two covers ‘Rebel Yell‘ and ‘Rock n Roll‘. I would find it hard to think that we will see this band again in Australia, so I am glad I have had the opportunity to witness a set from Sinner, but who knows, hopefully I am wrong.
Primal Fear hit the stage at approximately 10:30pm and by this time the audience are buzzing. I would be surprised if every person who attended the last show in Sydney isn’t here on the back of that performance, and if they’re not they need to be shot. The band open with the first and title track from the latest album Apocalypse, and they instantly ignite the room and establish without a shadow of a doubt that they are one of the best. Ralf from the opening song, until the last, is completely “on song.” He is a pioneer of the power metal scene and his experience and expertise was evident tonight. He commanded the stage, didn’t drop a note, and had the place eating out of his hands. Alex Beyrodt was sensational, such an underrated guitarist. His lead work is quite magical, in essence, not far from Ritchie Blackmore, and in practice, a power metal king. Alongside Alex is Mat Sinner, who is backing up from the last set (obviously), but now just left of the center microphone, but without losing any sense of presence or conviction for the evening.
Songs that stood out for me were definitely those highlighted from the latest album ‘Blood, Sweat and Fear‘, ‘King of Madness‘ and ‘Hounds of Justice‘. However it is also quite hard to go past the classics ‘Nuclear Winter’, ‘Final Embrace’, ‘The End is Near’and even the early classic ‘Under Your Spell’. The thing about Primal Fear’s writing is that it is direct metal, layered in melody and supported with hypnotic choruses and sing along interludes. If you talked through a number of their tunes you might think, well that sounds corny, but listening to them in all their layers, it just completely works! What came through tonight, for me, was the fact that this band has such a depth of a back catalogue and their set is just a powerful song, after song, after song. My ultimate favourites, and spine-tingling moments tonight were ‘Eye of the Storm’, ‘When Death Comes Knocking’, ‘Fighting the Darkness’ and of course the anthem, ‘Metal is Forever’.
The set concluded without a lull period and without any punter losing momentum. Being the second time the band has graced our shores, they have certainly established themselves as a live force to be reckoned with. I just hope that they are back again soon to build on this and hopefully in an even bigger venue and next time with the numbers that reflect and respect what this band deserves. Tonight was an amazing night of metal, a privilege to be here and witness the proof that metal is the best music in the world.
Gig Review by Mark Snedden
Revisit our interview with Primal Fear/Sinner icon Mat Sinner here
Photo Gallery courtesy of Mick Goddard (MickG Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Mick Goddard if you repost.