This is real now?
Code Orange has an interesting trajectory. Dropping the “Kids” from their previous name of Code Orange Kids, and reinventing themselves, forgetting their past material and creating a new platform to swing their sledgehammer from. Their new sound, first introduced on 2014 with I Am King, was a turning point for the band, their sound, and their future. Gaining momentum in the hardcore scene and playing bigger and bigger shows, Code Orange all of a sudden found themselves signed to a major, Roadrunner Records.
Beat down riffs meeting sporadic electronic samples sound like my worst nightmare (i.e. my entire high school metalcore phase) but Code Orange adds intensity and a level of sincerity that was lacking from the glossy dreamy Rise Records trash catalog of 2007-2010.
Album opener “Forever” showcases the machismo that Code Orange has developed since they dropped “Kids” from their name. The opener has a sample of a distorted low pitched voice juxtaposed against a massively down-tuned guitar riff and chugging bass. This back and forth tennis match between electronic samples of distortion, distorted voices, and Nine Inch Nails-inspired sounds with brutality is something that needs to be digested several times over before you can fully grasp the concept that Code Orange is going for.
The addition of electronic nuances sprinkled throughout each song adds a level of uniqueness to the album but has a tendency to be a hindrance in some instances. The ambient break that happens 30 seconds into “Kill the Creator,” a track that has some of the most interestingly heavy and chaotic bursts (a nod to their old sound in my opinion), breaks the immersion of the song and comes off as gimmicky rather than organic.
Code Orange excels when they break away from the beat downs and breakdowns. “Bleeding in the Blur” easily the most radio friendly track on the album, holds massive replay value. Landing somewhere Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails, “Bleeding…” is a rare example of clean vocals used on the album, which work so well as a foil to the thick and muddy guitar tones. They briefly wade into this sound on the song “Ugly” as well, but that track is held back by a chorus that literally sounds like Linkin Park.
The sludgey electro-metalcore that Code Orange has reinvented themselves with is hit or miss on this album. If you’ve had too much coffee and looking to swing your firsts (or your feet) this album is your soundtrack. If you are looking for Disembodied riffs from 1998 with weird distortion samples and ambient breaks over it, this is also your soundtrack. I still don’t know where I entirely stand on this record so I will let the screenshot from a comment on a music website pretty much sum up my reaction.
Code Orange. Forever.
by Andy Wilcox