If youâ’re disgusted by the eternal fame-games going on in the music industry – the same gimmicks that turn good bands into egregiously lame pop copycats (see Guano Apes) – we recommend you turn to metal, one of the last bastions of artistic integrity.
And because you need to start somewhere, lend an ear to PRIMAL FEAR, a German power-metal band who has managed to stay true to its style, despite the industryâ’s attempt to change it into something more profitable.
The rebellious harbingers of a new world order designed around the idea of the â€Metal Nationâ’ are on tour to promote their new album, „Unbreakable”, and theyâ’ve decided to stop and play a gig in Romania.
You can see them live in Bucharest, on the 8th of April, at The Silver Church Club. Responsible for the concert are Promusic Prod Events and Maximum Rock Magazine.
Ralf Scheepers (vocals) was kind enough to offer us an exclusive interview in which we dissected, or vivisected, the nature of Primal Fearâ’s newest songs and pondered the idea of electing Ozzy Osbourne as president. Read it below.
You released your latest album in January 2012. What were the reactions to „Unbreakable” so far?
So far, we are really excited and positively surprised. Apart from the U.S.A and Japan, weâ’re charted high in the album charts of 7 European countries. In Germany, for example, weâ’re on the highest position ever – on #31 – this is overwhelming and a great feedback from the fans!
I must say that the album incites you to take a stand. The tracks are true metal hymns that talk about how important it is to stand up for what you believe in. Why do you sense the need to educate people on the mentality specific to metal?
We have been metal musicians for our whole life. We were always like underdogs in the regular world. Even the music industry sees us as outsiders. Look at commercial TV or even radio – theyâ’re all scared of heavy metal. The charts and its popularity, however, speak a totally different word.
Itâ’s interesting that, on the one hand, you have catchy, feel-good tunes like „Bad Guys Wear Black”, and, on the other, youâ’ve got intense, emotional tracks like „Where Angels Die”. Where does this versatility stem from?
We wanted to create a real metal alum and go back to the roots and tradition of Primal Fear. However, our line-up consists of very creative and talented guys who needed to take some ambitious musical journeys, apart from the metal anthems and riff-orientated mayhem.
Your cover-art features a steel eagle flying away from a city in flaming ruins. What do the images symbolize?
The cover has to convey the vibe of the music on the album. On the last three albums weâ’ve worked with more simple and eye-catching eagle symbols. As the music on „Unbreakable” has returned to the riff-centered metal it used to be, we wanted to re-create our original eagle. And the eagle was always a symbol for freedom, strength and will!
Politically speaking, you are anarchists. Would you say that it is possible to destroy the system, and build something new and functional?
We hate politicians and their permanent lies – everywhere in the world. But itâ’s not only the politicians and their laws; there are so many other companies that have enormous influence on the politicians. They are making the rules, in a lot of ways. But I have to say – we are musicians, we can write our own lyrics and are thankful for this, and for not being restricted.
Romania is a country where the voices of oppression are, unfortunately, still heard. Whatâ’s your advice for the metal fans here? Can they change something?
Metal fans should stay together and keep the strong bound of their community!
How can you oppose the system without sacrificing your life and your sanity? Can metal be a cure?
Metal IS a cure for so many people around the world. We are travelling a lot around the world and we notice that metal is one of the strongest communities, because the mainstream public still tries to ignore one of the most successful styles of music! On the one side, this is good and itâ’s one of the reasons why the metal community is so strong. But it is also a straightforward example of the ultimate stupidity of mankind.
In the song „Metal Nation” you say that: „In a world where greed and money rule/ thereâ’s no place for the people who are true (â€¦) everybody join the metal nation”. In a utopian dream, how would the ideal nation look to you?
No, itâ’s far from an utopian dream – for us itâ’s reality. We go to Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles, New York, Quebec, Helsinki, Moscow, Berlin, Madrid etc and have fans everywhere – thatâ’s the Metal Nation, all those people, and we are really proud of them!
How about if we elected a metal icon as president? Maybe Ozzy Osbourne.
Well, I think that his wife would be the real president and I donâ’t believe she would stand for the interests of the regular metal fan ;-).
Whatâ’s your favorite track on the new album? Why?
The album is too new for me to have a real favorite track. All are my babies and I love them. The biggest challenge was the production of „Where Angels Die” because of the many, many different instruments, the arrangement and the length of the song.
Is there something in the contemporary world of rock that really, really pisses you off? If yes, what and why?
Greed, in all its disgusting forms, pisses me off.
What makes someone truly unbreakable?
I can speak for Primal Fear and I want to say why weâ’ve chosen „Unbreakable” as our album title. Primal Fear has many fans around the world. If you have many fans, you have many haters. We survived the change of record companies in a very difficult moment. We survived line-up changes and internal troubles. Some years ago, a record company guy told us that Primal Fear is a dead band. The best, and most ironic, thing is that Primal Fear released its most successful album in January 2012, and weâ’re really proud of it!
What do you expect from the concert in Romania?
A lot of crazy metal fans who want to have a great night with Primal Fear. Weâ’re really looking forward to play the gig! We hope it will be the highlight of the entire tour!
A last inspirational message for all your fans here?
Of course – never lose your faith in metal, stay hard, stay free and we hope to see you all at our concert in Romania! We love you!
Thank you Ralf and Primal Fear!