Primal Fear’s Discography: «Jaws of Death»

Jaws of Death”, the second album of Teutonic eagles Primal Fear, alreay became their classic and includes such hits like “Final Embrace”, “Church of Blood”, “Into the Future”,  “Fight To Survive” and “Under Your Spell”. Actually every song on this record is a hit for fans of pure heavy/power metal. We asked Tom Naumann, one of the founding members of the band, to recall how was it like to record «Jaws of Death». 

What was your attitude toward Primal Fear in general? I mean you were playing in Sinner but had to stop it. Were you 100% into this new project or did you miss that type of music which Sinner was doing in 1996—1998?

It was cool to try something different after a couple of years with Sinner. So we had Ralf and just wrote songs together. We never thought that it would be such a huge success. We still had Ыinner going but it was hard to do both bands to 100% and Primal Fear got asked to play all around the world. So we didn`t have much time for Sinner at that time.

What was your state of spirit when you went to the studio to record the second album? Were you eager and enthusiastic about it?

You always try to improve in writing songs and to record an even better album than the last you did. It was a cool challenge to be better than the debut album and I think we wrote some really great tunes on that album.

Can you recall your feelings when the band decided to add Stefan Leibing to its roster? Were you nervous about it? How was to work with him on the second album? Were there any problems with separation of duties between you and him?

After we recorded the first album as a 4-piece we decided to add a second guitar player for the live shows. Stefan was a friend of Klaus and so we asked him. Stefan is a really nice and quiet guy. Great guitar player and composer. It was very cool to work with him on and off stage and I did not have any problems sharing the duties.

You have played with all Primal Fear guitarists so what differs Stefan from Henny, Alex or Magnus? What are Stefan’s trademarks so to say?

Stefan is more based on Thrash Metal. His playing is more influenced by Slayer or Exodus. A really great technical shredder and also very technical when it comes to play rhythm stuff. Henny is more a rocking guy where Alex has more taste in its playing. Magnus is the metal dude. Every guy has something special to deliver and I liked to play with them all….

The album was partially recorded in Morrisound Studios in the USA. What were you reasons for that? Did you feel there was lack of great studios in Germany or Europe? Did this idea with Morrissound Studios paid off musically and financially?

I guess that we had the chance to go to Florida to do the album there. It was not because of bad studio in Germany or Europe. It was just because the weather is much finer in Florida.

Was there anything significant during recording process for this album or was it steady and uneventful? Were you still recording together in one studio or did you start record everything at your homes like it is now?

Not really spectacular or significant. We always have fun in the studio but try to record very concentrated and fast. Way back we recorded everything in the studio and we really enjoyed it.

Tell me please about the song “Under Your Spell”. Who brought main ideas for it? What made it so special for you? This song became an entrance theme for a handball team. Does it make you proud?

Mat came with the main idea and the riffing comes from my side. I really love this tune and I really would like to play it live again. It has a really great groove and I love the middle part with the solo spots . Classic Primal Fear chorus. Very catchy !! It made us all very proud as a premier league handball team chose our song as their entrance theme.

Lyrically the album has anti-war message. Did you contribute anything to those lyrics and do you pay attention at all to lyrical content?

We have mixed themes when it comes to lyrics. Some of them are based on real stories, some of them are just fantasy stuff and some lyrics are about stuff that touches us. If you record or play the songs live you get the  content J) As far as I can remember I also added some lines to the lyrics but the main writers are Mat and Ralf.

How do you measure the album today in terms of sound production, songwriting, musicianship etc.? Is there something you would like to redo on it?

As we recorded the album we thought that it was the best we can do at this very moment. Nowadays you could always change something. It still sounds powerful and really good after all those years. After you release an album you always can start to argue or discuss if it would have been better to do this and that or play it like this. But when you record an album you are catching the moment. Same for the songwriting process or arranging songs. Maybe nowadays we would do it differently, but back in these days it felt110 % right what we did.

After that second album the band went on tour as a headliner. Were you a part of it or did you quit the band by that time? If you were can you recall some details about it? Would you say that the album stood the test of time and can be placed in the same line with classic albums of Iron Maiden, Accept or Dio?

I just recorded that album and wrote some songs on it, but as far as I can remember I did not play any tour. I do not remember if I play some shows to support Jaws of Death. Long time ago! I would not compare “Jaws of Death” to any other album of Dio, Maiden or Accept. This album is a milestone in the career of Primal Fear and brought us one step closer to where we are right now. We got some classic tracks on the album and it was a good follow up to our debut and proved that our debut was not just  a one hit wonder thing.

Can you shed some light on the reasons of your departure after “Jaws of Death”. Some sources says you had to quit due to some business problems while others say you left the band because of your girlfriend and health issues.

I guess both rumors are true to a certain point. One thing lead to another and in the end we decided to part ways. I got along with my life and Primal Fear did what they do best. Delivering the goods…

Imagine you were asked by a label to put out a best of album and you have to pick out only 3 tracks from each album. What track would you choose from “Jaws of Death” and why?

Oh, that’s a no-brainer for me. First of all, “Final Embrace”. We still play that song live and its one of the all time fave tracks of our fans. It sums up what Primal Fear is all about. Heavy Riffing,Twin leads, Doublebass, screaming vocals and a catchy chorus. Next song would be “Under Your Spell”. I always liked that song. Unfortunately we do not play it for years. I love the riffing and the guitar work, but I also love the way we composed the songs and how much effort we put into this little masterpiece. Number 3 is “Church of Blood”. Crashing Doublebass by KLaus Sperling. Great lyrics, great voice. Also a song which is 100 % Primal Fear!!!

What are your expectations from the upcoming shows in Moscow? Tell a few words for your Russian fans.

I expect nothing less than a crazy crowd of metal maniacs when we will rock Moscow!! The last time we played there was awesome. Great crowd who is really into the music. Hope a lot of people will attend and party with us. To all the Fear maniacs out there!! Hope to see you in one of our shows in Russia. Stay metal and be excellent to each other… Party on!!!

Thanks to Eugine Silin (Alive Concerts) for making this interview possible.

Primal Fear’s shows in Russia:
16.09.2017 — Saint-Petersburg;
17.09.2017 — Moscow.

Read interview with Henny Wolter about «Nuclear Fire» here.

Read interview with Klaus Sperling about «Black Sun» here.

Read interview with Randy Black about «Devil’s Ground» here.

Read interview with Stefan Leibing here.