PRIMAL FEAR – Code Red (2023)

PRIMAL FEAR - Code Red (2023) - full

German power metal stalwarts PRIMAL FEAR are ready to release their new album “Code Red” for September 1st, 2023.
Following the success of their latest album Metal Commando (which became the band’s highest charting ever with several top 10 Rock chart entries in 2020), the new album offers everything you love Primal Fear for: the soaring, unmistakable vocals of shouter Ralf Scheepers, huge riffs (3 guitarist!), powerful rhythm section, great melodies, catchy choruses and the huge wall of sound (again mixed by Jacob Hansen).
However, “Code Red” also demonstrates that Primal Fear are not afraid to take risks, mixing keyboards and clichés, synths and sound effects with the traditional elements of their brand of metal to produce something good, something dynamic, and above all something that will appeal.
This album will appeal, not to the masses, but rather to the masses of metal fans who are hungry for more of what they have come to expect from this band.

It’s easy to see their appeal. Let’s face it, bands don’t endure for this long (since 1997) and release this many albums (14 including this one) without consistently having something exciting to offer. And this does. It’s full of crunching power riffs, super-tight and speedy solos, and above all massively energetic vocals from Scheepers, that at times soar to heights previously reached only by the legendary Halford.

“Another Hero” kicks things off with a tinkling of unexpected keyboards, swiftly thundering into a solid, midtempo rocker complete with catchy chorus (“Where is the savior, who shows us the way? We need a guide back to sanity”). Things are cranked up a notch with “Bring That Noise”, full of tight riffs and furious double bass drum pedaling. We’re then brought back down with the moody, slow-tempo “Deep in the Night”.
Next up is “Cancel Culture”, which is probably the most inventive track. From a rather grand atmospheric intro we are whisked away to the edge of speed-metal, slowing for the chorus before galloping off again (kudos to drummer Michael Ehre). At 6:50 it’s quite a long track for something this energetic, but the mix of time changes keeps it fresh.

There appears to be a theme running through the album, of a world gone mad – corruption, tyranny, failure of the system, and the need for someone to save mankind from spiraling into self-made destruction – something which is expressed in the first 2 songs, and in tracks 6 and 7, “The World is On Fire” and “Their Gods Have Failed”.
The former kicks off with another grand melodic intro, and what it lacks in lyrical originality it makes up for in the guitar break (which is capped off with 8 bars of beautiful harmony).
The latter is the longest track on the album (7:22, but it doesn’t feel it): an acoustic intro complete with choral voices, leading into a steady power-plod, the lyrics reminding us that we can overcome if we stand firm, despite everything crashing down around us.

“Steelmelter” and “Raged by Pain” are fun punchy rockers – nothing outstanding, but sometimes that’s just what you need: solid metal that you don’t have to try and analyse, just crank it up to 11 and go with it. Both are full of clichés, but who cares?
I love the keyboard intro to “Forever”, which is another steady anthemic offering interspersed with synth strings and acoustic guitars, that demonstrates the diversity of Scheepers’ vocals.

Primal Fear has a fearsome back catalogue, and this new CD is equal to anything else they have released. The sounds are huge, and the performances are world-class, especially from Scheepers who shows right here why he is regarded so highly. And we love the added synths / keyboards to enrich the songs.
Want metal with a modern vibrant sound? Here it is in all its glory.
Highly Recommended


01 – Another Hero
02 – Bring That Noise
03 – Deep In The Night
04 – Cancel Culture
05 – Play A Song
06 – The World Is On Fire
07 – Their Gods Have Failed
08 – Steelmelter
09 – Raged By Pain
10 – Forever
11 – Fearless

Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt – Guitar
Tom Naumann – Guitar
Magnus Karlsson – Guitar
Mat Sinner – Bass
Michael Ehre – Drums


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