Code Red

Primal Fear

PRIMAL FEAR are still on top of their game and “Code Red” is one of the Heavy Metal highlights of the year so far
November 23, 2023

PRIMAL FEAR were formed in 1997 and they are from Esslingen, Germany. The Speed Metal outfit released 13 albums, two EPs, and three live albums during their long-lasting career. The 14th album “Code Red” was recorded and mixed by Sebastian Roeder (BONFIRE; RHAPSODY OF FIRE), Mitch Kunz, and Ralf Scheepers, while Jacob Hansen (ABORTED; DELAIN; DESTRUCTION) mastered the album. It has a length of about 58 minutes, and it was released via German Thrash, Speed, and Power Metal specialists Atomic Fire Records.

The album has a strong and powerful start with the mid-tempo track “Another Hero”, which is a catchy track with sharp guitar riffing, a head-banging rhythm, and the anthemic chorus parts. It is one of those tracks where PRIMAL FEAR do what they do best for more than 25 years: delivering traditional Metal classics with plenty of Heavy Metal vibes, cool great lead guitars, and sing-along chorus lines. “Bring That Noise” is not much different from the opener in terms of pace and rhythm. The guitar riffs for the verse parts are a bit heavier with a bit more aggression, and the chorus parts are epic with a slight touch of melancholy in the melodies. Highlight of the track is surely the excellent lead guitar solo. “Deep In The Night” do remind me on ACCEPT during their best period in the 80s. Each part apart from the vocals remind me on that period: the tempo, the rhythm, the riffing, the strong basslines, the melodies, and the lead guitar solo. It is a great track and it is no surprise that “Deep In The Night” was released as video and the YouTube link is provided below. “Cancel Culture” eventually raises the pace. It was a long wait for the first fast track of the album, and the verse parts and the bridges have many Power Metal vibes with the riffing and the relentless double-bass attacks. The chorus parts are epic at a measured tempo with anthemic chorus lines. Notable is the orchestral arrangement in the background, which intensify the sound at times or, as during the break, contribute actively alongside the guitars to the track.

Play A Song” is another mid-tempo track with some classical 80s Metal vibes, but it transitions quickly into a more modern Heavy Metal track with plenty of catchiness in the melodies. Although it is a nice sing-along track, it cannot quite keep up with the strong opening album tracks. “The World Is On Fire” starts with an epic pre-lude introducing the melodic framework of the track. It is a great mid-tempo track with tight and catchy guitar riffing and anthemic and chorus lines. Highlight again is the extended and contributing lead guitar solo. It fits perfectly to the song and is an example for good songwriting. “Their Gods Have Failed” opens like one of the epic IRON MAIDEN classics. The track has really a strong start and transitions into a quieter verse part at a measured tempo. The bridge provides a good transition to the epic chorus part. As with every epic song, there is an extended break, introducing another cool lead guitar solo. The twin guitars remind me again on IRON MAIDEN, and they fit in perfectly. If “Their Gods Have Failed” would have been faster, it could really have been a track from the English all-time Greats.

Steelmelter” raises pace again, but it is still a mid-tempo track. The riffing is direct and aggressive, and the basslines are crushing. While the verse and chorus parts have catchy melodies and are straightforward, the break introduces a bit more complexity with a few twists in rhythm. That is a welcomed change as most tracks on the album have simple and clean textures. “Raged By Pain” starts with a short drumming part, before the main riff is introduced. It is a mid-tempo track and overall, despite the excellent lead guitar solo, “Raged By Pain” is not one of my top five tracks on the album. However, highlight of the track are the versatile vocals. Ralf Scheepers shows on the entire album that he is an excellent vocalist, but “Raged By Pain” is a very good track to point this out. “Forever” is the inevitable ballad of the album. It seems that ballads belong to every Metal album, for me they all sound the same. The album closes with “Fearless” and it starts with thunderous and powerful riffing. “Fearless” is another mid-tempo track with tight and catchy riffing and sing-along chorus parts. It comes with another cool lead guitar solo and is a great way to end the album.

PRIMAL FEAR deliver an album that you can expect from the Teutonic Metal icons. “Code Red” may not have the pace of previous albums, but it is a mixture of traditional Heavy Metal with Speed and Power Metal elements. The melodic framework of the album is very catchy and almost every song is a head-banger and a sing-along. I had hoped for some more speed, but the album has enough highlights, most notably the lead guitars and the vocals. The album is very well produced. PRIMAL FEAR have shown that they are still on top of their game and “Code Red” is surely one of the Heavy Metal highlights of the year so far.

 

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

Songwritting

9

Musicianship

9

Memorability

9

Production

9
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"Code Red" Track-listing:
  1. Another Hero
  2. Bring That Noise
  3. Deep In The Night
  4. Cancel Culture
  5. Play A Song
  6. The World Is On Fire
  7. Their Gods Have Failed
  8. Steelmelter
  9. Raged By Pain
  10. Forever
  11. Fearless

 

Primal Fear Lineup:

Ralf Scheepers – Vocals

Tom Naumann ­ Guitars

Magnus Karlsson ­ Guitars

Axel Boyrodt ­ Guitars

Michael Ehre – Drums

Mat Sinner – Bass, Vocals

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