Published on December 3rd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Primal Fear: Best of Fear (Frontiers)
It’s been just over a decade since German power metal masters Primal Fear issued their last compilation (2006’s Metal is Forever: The Best of Primal Fear), and given the strength of the albums they’ve released since then, another retrospective makes perfect sense. Their new collection is titled Best of Fear, and it’s a 2-disc look back at Primal Fear’s best material since signing to the Frontiers label, plus a few surprises.
As far as the “best of” part goes, they definitely hit the highlights here, picking the singles and generally the best tracks from 2007’s New Religion, 2009’s 16.6 (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead), 2012’s Unbreakable, 2014’s Delivering the Black and 2016’s Rulebreaker. There are no glaring omissions, and hearing these 23 songs together reminds you just how on-point this band has been recently (and makes you want to see a 2-hour Primal Fear live show). As good as their earlier material was, it’s the Frontiers era that really shows what Primal Fear is all about.
Best of Fear does have some new material to entice those of us who already own the albums covered by this set. The press release boasts about “four new songs,” but one of them is simply a disposable instrumental intro, so we’re really talking about three new tracks. Two of them – “Predator” and “Thrill of Speed” – are brand new Primal Fear songs that are fast and heavy and fit perfectly with the rest of the material on Best of Fear. The last is a cover of Heart’s “If Looks Could Kill,” which translates eerily well as a power metal tune.
With 23 killer Primal Fear songs and 4(ish) new gems, Best of Fear has a lot going for it, but it’s still disappointing that they didn’t devote some space to collecting the various bonus tracks and alternate versions that have appeared on the last few Japanese editions. This would have been the perfect way to let the rest of us catch up on some rare tracks we’ve missed out on over the years.
Obviously a collection like this is most suited to casual Primal Fear fans or newcomers looking for a good starting point with the band. Best of Fear is a brilliant introduction to one of the best power metal bands on the planet. For the rest of us, it’s harder to recommend, especially when you can spend three bucks and get the new songs digitally. The new songs are absolutely worth hearing, but may not be worth the full price tag of the physical set.
Summary: At minimum, there are three killer new tracks here.