One of the most aggressive bands in the hardcore scene as of this moment is Pittsburg, PA based group Code Orange who burst onto the album scene with their punishing debut of ‘Love Is Love/Return To Dust’ to cult success. With many more tours under their belt and pushing the boundaries within their music scene, they aim to bust through that wall yet again with new record ‘Forever’
Flying straight into the songs you’ve already heard, the title track being the first single shows that even though you might be worried of their signing to a major label (Roadrunner Records), their sound would just be as ferocious as ever, with the tone of every single members instrument being crafted so strongly and mixed superbly. Moving into their latest release of ‘Kill The Creator’, it uses more of their thrash-like style of tracks such as ‘Unclean Spirit’ from their previous outing. The sudden shifts into glitchy and atmospheric sections mixed with dissonant chording and a booming drum sound, Jeremy from Lifeless comes into the track and gives you something head pounding before the track closes on an eerie, yet orchestral side of them with a final ear piercing feedback noise to close your immediate taste.
With a smattering of double bass and guitars harmonising with each other, ‘Real’ pushes the album that much further with a more varied wavelength. With its darker and cleaner side having a weird psychological horror vibe in its creation, once the fury flies into it you’re not fully prepared for what is coming your way. The bass tone adds a massive wave of depth into the track during all its sections before moving into more eerie qualities with ‘Bleeding In The Blur’ which will take you completely out of left field. The clean vocals make their first presence on the record and sounding like a bouncy post hardcore track with snippets of experimental metal engraved, the soft and often tenebrous vocals will put that idea you may have had of Code Orange being a ‘one trick pony’ to bed.
Sounding like laser fire to kick off ‘The Mud’, the band are still crashing through with the low toned guitar muting and a beautiful blend of clean/screams within the track to show how well they can encompass different tastes and styles and make something that is undoubtedly unique and undeniably Code Orange. Combined with a weird chunk of silence before throwing back into angrier territory, They throw into the 2 minute hellhound known as ‘The New Reality’. Having the same flavours as the opener with some extra punches thrown in for good measure. Just full blown riffs and low growls adding to what will no doubt be a main staple of the bands set to bring the moshers from all around the room. Flying straight into ‘Spy’ with the feedback blaring and the drums building more and more, the first riff comes with a lot of flavours and structure around it and also adds another new style you might not have already heard into the bands repertoire, but that doesn’t mean they cant still bring the heat with whatever they throw your way.
‘Ugly’ has that beginning taste of something from the Type O Negative / Nirvana blend of strong goth/doom in its vocals qualities and verses, but during choruses it booms that powerful grunge sound that all in all, makes for one of the most exciting listens on the record for just being its own special entity and unconforming to what you might be used to yet again. As the album pushes into its final quarter, ‘No One Is Untouchable’ brings more atmospheric brutality to the record and doesn’t shy away from just being tonally sharp and crisp with its delivery. The drummers vocals crack through the recording and have an amazing presence from start to finish, especially with the ending of the track blending the beatdown style chord progression with an electronic underbelly fuelling the fire.
‘Hurt Goes On’ is by far the most spacious feeling track on the record and really brings their experimental side into fruition. With the instrumentation taking a back seat to the gruesome sounding vocals feeling like cult chants and the electronics being even more entrancing than before on the record, its a superb penultimate track before leading into ‘dream2’ which is the round off to end all round offs. It takes away once again the heavy and closes the album on something soft and heavenly with the ‘I just cant relate’ line being the final breaths of words before the album comes to its sudden halt.
It’s hard to think that an album being released in the first 13 days of the year could be considered as album of the year potential, but Code Orange have defied those odds extremely and produced something unlike you’ve heard. Progression is the main key of this and the band have improved, crafted and produced something that is many steps up from their debut record. Those who think they’ve sold out from joining Roadrunner, you’ll be massively mistaken.