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Warrior’s back again, and this time they don’t disappoint! Ancient Future was by no means modern, but it didn’t work anyway. The Code of Life has a modern sound and kicks ass all the way though, with the possible exception of the three closing songs and Soul Survivor, which should really be Sole Survivor, but isn’t. When the title annoys you, the music must make up for it, but this time it doesn’t.
Joe Floyd, however, is in good shape again, and Mick Perez, the other guitarist whose career started with Ancient Future now has his vengeance. Roy Z Ramirez is barely involved with the songwriting anymore, and it seems like a good move. An even better move is that the excellent Rob Rock now handles the microphone stand.
Make no mistake; this is far from the beloved Fighting for the Earth. The classic metal is gone, the eighties sound is gone, and the gritty voice of Parramore McCarthy is gone. Here is something new, blasts of precision drums upon heavy, tasteful guitars in a fashion that’s way more headbangable than anything they’ve done before. Drummer Dave DuCuey and the killer production really deserve credit.
From second one of Day of Reckoning the rhythm gives you a punch right in the face, the guitars going for combination beats, with godly riff structures and even better solos. There are some stupid reverb effects in Standing, but one bad thing in an entire song is allowed. Period. We Are One is co-written by Bruce Dickinson, starting calmly with a spoken intro where Rob is closer to Parramore than ever. It soon progresses to its bridge, sounding just like classic Warrior.
The acoustic guitar instrumental Pantheon doesn’t serve for much, but to wake the listener when the title track kicks off. It’s not the strongest song of the album, but hey, it’s good enough. The composition and the middle guitar solo leave little room for wishes. The Endless Beginning, co-written with Rich Carette, is a slower, melodic masterpiece with an Indian-inspired intro. It easily wins the prize for being the best song.
The rest of the album is best characterized by the second last song, Insignificance. They’re decent, but aren’t the kind of songs you will remember. The Code of Life is a good buy for anyone into heavy or power metal, but I doubt it’ll ever get the cult status that Fighting for the Earth holds.