|Musical Style: Heavy Metal||Produced By: Warren Croyle & Joe Floyd|
|Record Label: Nuclear Blast||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2001||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 90%|
|Running Time: 52:36|
Warrior, a well known secular metal band that formed in 1983 and released its debut album Fighting For The Earth two years later, recruited former Impellitteri front man Rob Rock to handle lead vocal duties on its third full length release The Code Of Life. The addition of Rock, naturally, invites a comparison musically to Impellitteri that is not unfounded: Warrior delivers an energetic and fast paced brand of metal showcasing catchy hook filled songwriting and a top notch display of musicianship. Rock puts in the same first class showing as always with his classic tenor voice, occasionally adding an element of grit and aggression to his vocal delivery not always found on his past efforts. The guitar team of Joe Floyd and Mick Perez contributes a solid rhythm guitar sound in addition to plenty of energetic dual lead guitar work. The steady rhythm section of bassist Simon Oliver and drummer Dave DuCey puts in place a solid foundation for the bands sound.
The professional sounding production values to The Code Of Life highlight just the right amount of polish but not so much as to take away from the bands natural energy. An abundance of rhythm guitar provides the backbone to a mix allowing the lead guitar, bass and drums to all stand out in a clean sounding manner.
Please note that while The Code Of Life is not a Christian album, its lyrics, mostly written by Rock, are clean, positive and reflective of a Christian world view.
Immediately kicking in to a driving guitar riff, “Day Of Reckoning” moves ahead with a ton of up-tempo energy until it culminates for a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Floyd and Perez contribute an exciting dual lead guitar trade off to a song talking about the battle of Armageddon:
The sun will turn into darkness
And the moon will be covered in blood
Day of disaster is coming and it won't be too long
The armies gather on the desert plain
In the Valley of the Kings
Waging war in the Neverland
On the Day of Reckoning
The catchy "Kill The Machine" moves at a slower pace when compared to "Day Of Reckoning" but proves no less exemplary. The guitar driven momentum opening the song pushes it forward in a vibrant manner to a strong forcefully delivered chorus. As "Kill The Machine" transitions to its instrumental section, Floyd and Perez combine for several seconds of dual lead guitar work that ends as keyboards bounce between the left and right channel.
After "Standing" commences to a muscular bass line backed by screaming guitar feedback, a pounding riff carries it at an upbeat tempo to a chorus underscored by just the right amount of double bass. I wish the band had expanded upon an instrumental passage limited to several seconds of rhythm guitar and keyboards.
Opening to a combination of keyboards and guitar feedback, a heavy handed riff propels "We Are One" from front to back at a driving mid-tempo pace. Rock adds an aggressive element to his vocal delivery during the songs verse portions only to display the full range to his voice upon reaching a chorus that ends as deep sounding vocal harmonies repeat its title.
The quietly played guitar line initiating "Open Your Eyes" carries the song through its first verse until it abruptly picks up in pace for a powerfully delivered chorus reinforced by a crunchy rhythm guitar. Subsequent to a combination of rhythm and lead guitar highlights a sweeping instrumental passage, Rock follows with a message addressing the meaning of life as the song slows to a heavy bass line:
No possessions but your heartbeat
Your entrance into this cruel world
Tell me what will matter
As you wander the ends of the earth
I hear a voice calling out in the distance
It's calling your name
Your destiny lies in the palm of your hand
"Pantheon", the first of the albums two instrumental tracks, combines an acoustic guitar with a touch of keyboards and piano.
The albums hard rocking title track begins as an edgy rhythm guitar urges it ahead strong and steady, the aggressive atmosphere maintained as the song tapers off for a slowly moving chorus with a dark and heavy feel. "Code Of Life" breaks for just under one minute of the albums best lead guitar work before Rock closes the song by continually repeating the phrase "the code of life will survive".
Introduced to several seconds of driving rhythm guitar, the science fiction themed "Soul Survivor" picks up in pace for its first verse as Rock depicts an individual who embarks on a journey through space but returns to find earth void of life:
Calling out to Earth
I know something is terribly wrong
No contact, no transmission
No signs of life to tell what's going on
I am the soul survivor...
Double bass carries the song forward until it reaches an energy-laden chorus that will immediately pull you in with its prodigious hook. Following thirty seconds of high octane lead guitar work, "Soul Survivor" increases n energy as the adventurer questions his new found set of circumstances:
Thoughts are racing through my mind
Is this the same planet that I left behind?
What we all feared has happened here
Or have I returned at another point in time?
"The Endless Beginning" is by far the albums strongest track. After the song opens to choir-like vocal harmonies carried over a heavy bass line, the rhythm guitar takes a backseat in the mix during its first verse only to return to a place of prominence at the start of the second. The choir-like vocal harmonies reappear to bolster an impeccable chorus driven by Rock's passionate vocal delivery. I interpret the songs title as an acronym for eternal life:
Sail across the heavens, the cross of the divine
Document the ages and leave them all behind
Searching for the meaning, the ashes turn to clay
The silence must be broken, those who know do not say
The Endless Beginning
See the future in the past
The gates of truth are opened
And the walls of time collapse
The songs lyrics, at the same time, provide a bit of foreshadowing to the title of Rock's 2003 solo release:
Rest inside the chamber, in the palace of destinies...The Eyes of Eternity
The slower paced and blues flavored "The Fools Theme" proves a bit of a contrast musically to the rest of the albums material. Set in motion by a crisp rhythm guitar buttressed by a prominent bass line, the song advances at an even mid-tempo pace until it tapers off for a brief but slowly moving laid back chorus. A minute of very well done bluesy lead guitar work aligns itself with the songs pace and feel.
A blend of acoustic guitar and bass drives the brief (1:28) instrumental "Insignificance".
"Retribution" jumps out of the gate to a fast paced riff that impels it in an energetic manner to a catchy chorus shored up by a storm of crunchy rhythm guitar. A combination of rhythm and lead guitar carries a nice extensive instrumental passage.
When taking into consideration Warrior's energetic performance and well crafted songwriting backed by Rock's top notch lead vocal performance, The Code Of Life deserves to rank among the top metal releases of 2001. While the albums title track, "Day Of Reckoning" and "Kill The Machine" all stand out with their catchy chorus', the powerful "Soul Survivor" and "Endless Beginning" hold up equally well.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Day Of Reckoning” (4:03), “Kill The Machine” (4:28), “Standing” (4:46), “We Are One” (6:32), “Open Your Eyes” (6:13), “Pantheon” (1:49), “Code Of Life” (4:37), “Soul Survivor (4:02), “The Endless Beginning” (5:34), “The Fools Theme” (4:41), “Insignificance” (1:28), “Retribution” (4:17)
Rob Rock – Lead Vocals
Joe Floyd – Guitars
Mick Perez – Guitars
Simon Oliver – Bass
Dave DuCey – Drums