The angst and energy emoting from Code Red Riot’s debut album Mask is just enough to get any metal fan excited about the future of the genre. Crisp vocals, fried guitar riffs, and headache heavy drums are all standard in this album. There’s a formula to be followed in order to contain the monstrous energy of frontman Corky Gainsford, but it’s hard to keep him caged. Mask is packed full of greedy tracks that’s bound to be blasted through a Milwaukee Radio on every jobsite.
Gripping the listener tightly from the opening track, Code Red Riot lives up to what can only be described as an infamous name. Gainsford is the master puppeteer behind the controlled chaos, his carefully constructed work more than eager to knock down walls with authority. It’s impossible not to notice the sheer vivacity throughout each track; the heart pounds quicker, blood begins to boil, and our senses are heightened. Mask hardly gives us room to breathe between the crystal clear sound and boisterous volume. The meticulous way the album coaxes familiarity from songs that are completely original is masterful.
Delving deeper into this collection of songs grants us the opportunity to feel the frustration and angst that drives each and every metal band. Songs like “Slide” and “Ghost” are a callout to naysayers and conformity, a snide reminder that talent cannot be corrupted by “the man”. “Bulletproof” is a prime example of the seldom contained rage and drive that Gainsford has constructed. The heady guitar solos from Tyler “Taz” Azure complement Gainsford’s difficult task of playing almost every single instrument on the album. Each song is also packed full of lyrical talent, coming in brisk and heavy, a stream of consciousness so honest and rude it erases any doubt of Gainsford’s metal prowess.
Mask is the real deal. Though the format is very paint-by-number, there is still enough originality to keep metal fans entertained. What’s most important is the ferocious power Gainsford brings to every track. He’s cut open old wounds and let them bleed crimson red onto the music. Code Red Riot is a band with a chip on its shoulder that reminds us that the heart and soul of metal is still alive and well.