Written by Alex Stojanovic
Bring That Noise
Deep In The Night
Play A Song
The World Is On Fire
Their Gods Have Failed
Raged By Pain
Release Date: September 1, 2023
Label: Atomic Fire Records
Ralf Scheepers - Vocals / Mat Sinner - Bass & backing vocals / Tom Naumann - Guitars & backing vocals
Magnus Karlsson - Guitars (session) / Alexander Beyrodt - Guitars / Michael Ehre - Drums
Since the release of Metal Commando, the band have gone through a lot. The album was their first to be released through Nuclear Blast Records since Seven Seals, but it didn't last long before they signed with Atomic Fire Records (a subsidiary of Nuclear Blast). In addition, aside from not being able to tour due to the pandemic, Mat Sinner experienced health issues that prevented the band from being able to perform. Even though they never mentioned what his health issues were, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it was cancer due to the fact that he has shorter hair now. Regardless, it appears that Mat is still unable to perform with the band due to the fact that they had a fill-in bass player on their recent tour dates, but Mat still came out for some songs. We wish Mat good health and continue on the road to recovery.
Coming back around to the present moment with Code Red, you obviously know what to expect by now. Songs like "Another Hero", "Deep In The Night", "The World Is On Fire" and "Steelmelter" bring the thrills like heavy grooves, heroic harmonies and superhuman vocals from Ralf Scheepers. I honestly think "Steelmelter" as a title belongs in the U.D.O. catalog; Steelhammer, Steelfactory, anyone? I guess it must be a thing amongst the German metal greats. When it comes to lyrical themes, Primal Fear are known for singing about many of the cliche heavy metal topics, mostly fantasy-based. However, here we see them taking potshots at cancel culture with the track aptly titled "Cancel Culture". Along with Scheepers' immense vocals, the triple ax attack of Magnus Karlsson, Tom Naumann and Alexander Beyrodt takes center stage with powerful riffs, majestic solos and harmonies that unite us all.
While the downside is that it may sound like a repeat of the last bunch of Primal Fear albums, there's plenty of memorable moments to hook the listener. Speaking of hooks, they fly in from all directions, making for a much more pleasurable listening experiene. I wouldn't call Code Red the band's best album, but it's another enjoyable effort by one of Germany's finest. Scheepers can still belt like a madman with high notes that would even give Rob Halford the heebie-geebies. Primal Fear is here to stay and there's plenty of metal fuel still left in the tank.