Personnel: Mat Sinner (vocals, strings, keyboards); Ralf Scheepers (vocals); Stefan Leibing (guitar, strings, keyboards); Tom Naumann (guitar); Matz Ulmer (strings, keyboards); Randy Black (drums).
Audio Mixers: Mike Frazer; Achim Koehler; Charlie Bauerfeind.
Audio Remasterer: Achim Köhler.
Recording information: House Of Music, Winterbach, Germany; Morrisound, Tampa, USA; Sonic Ranch, El Paso, USA; The WareHouse, Vancouver, Canada.
This two-disc, 25-track compilation shows off European metal outfit Primal Fear at their finest. That comparative rarity, a contemporary metal band whose influences all predate the Metallica/Pantera axis, Primal Fear play defiantly old-school 1980s power metal with echoes of Judas Priest, the Scorpions and Dio, among others. Melodic and riff heavy, with a predisposition for epic fist-in-the-air choruses and the requisite guitar heroics, these songs are so defiantly out of the current day metal mainstream that, paradoxically, Metal Is Forever sounds amazingly fresh. Highlights include the apocalyptic "Seven Seals" and the extended guitar workout "Seek and Destroy," but as a whole, this is a solid encapsulation of Primal Fear's first decade as the kings of European retro-metal. ~ Stewart Mason