2016 Primal Fear interview with Ralf Scheepers
German metal titans, Primal Fear, are about as a consistent and well-oiled a machine as a fan could ask for. Every other winter they release a new studio album of riff-heavy, fist-in-the-air metal, and spend the next year touring the world over. This year is no exception. The band will close out its second decade with a new record, Rulebreaker, on January 29, followed by another world tour. The North American leg with be a co-headlining stretch with Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody that will run from late April into the first week of June.
This week, Primal Fear vocalist Ralf Scheepers checked in with Metalholic to talk about the Rulebreaker album, the return of guitarist Tom Naumann, and the addition of former U.D.O. drummer, Francesco Jovino.
Rulebreaker is the band’s eleventh studio album since forming in 1997. The record continues in the same vein of 2012’s Unbreakable and 2014’s Delivering the Black, which are fueled by the dynamic twin guitar attack of Magnus Karlsson and Alex Beyrodt, and marked by Scheepers powerhouse vocals, a thunderous rhythm section, and huge, anthemic choruses.
“We thought it’s going to be hard to follow-up the strong album, Delivering the Black, but since I heard the first demos—the tracks, I thought, yes, this is absolutely amazing. I know already that this isn’t going to be even better than what we had on Delivering the Black. I mean every musician will tell you the next effort might be the best but we were all looking forward not backwards.”
For Rulebreaker, much of the material was penned by Karlsson, Scheepers, and bassist/producer, Mat Sinner, but former guitarist, Tom Naumann also returned to the band. Naumann has been serving in a live capacity for the last two years due to limitations on Karlsson’s ability to tour. Rulebreaker marks his first record with Primal Fear since 2005’s mammoth Seven Seals record.
“As you know, [Tom’s] a forming member of Primal Fear so we knew him before, and we had a good time again. And of course his impact [on Rulebreaker] was really good with solos here and there and also some riffs for ‘Raving Mad’ and stuff. So you can really hear that on the album too—that he’s back.”
“As you can hear, it only turned out to the positive. It’s just amazing what those three guys did. Everybody’s really talented, and they gave their very best like everybody’s always doing their very best on every album. So you can hear that this is a collaboration of great musicians. I think the guitarists did their part, and an amazing part in my opinion.”
During the full conversation which can be heard below, Scheepers talks about the impact of the band’s new drummer, the band’s upcoming tour, making the “Angels of Mercy” video, as well as his involvement with Blackwelder’s Survival of the Fittest album released last year.