Ever since the release of 2014’s I Am King, there’s been an undeniable buzz gathering around Code Orange. Seen as a somewhat saving grace in a hardcore scene gone stale, the quartet are renowned for blending differentiating metal and hardcore styles into a disgustingly endearing sound.
Three years on from I Am King, the band are back with their Roadrunner Records debut, Forever. Kicking off the album campaign back in late 2016 with the record’s title track and an ominous video, Pittsburgh’s finest pick up exactly where they left off.
As Forever progress the tropes that have become expected from the band rear their head; haunting voice overs and effects look to disturb, as cuts in sound aim to startle and unsettle. Whilst the tropes are becoming somewhat of a staple in the Code Orange universe, it’s something that hasn’t got tiresome just yet, as the listener is kept on their toes despite multiple listens.
There’s a sense that you never completely know a Code Orange track, that no matter how many times you listen to the record, you can’t quite predict what’s coming next. Kill and Real are two examples of this, both throwing cuts and effects that are never quite expected.
Whilst they haven’t worn out their welcome just yet, the band are fully aware of the lines they’ve previously towed. The response to this is to litter Forever in surprises you wouldn’t quite expect. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all comes in the form of Bleeding in the Bur. As Reba Myers vocals come to the forefront, so does a sound you wouldn’t expect to hear on a Code Orange record, think Turnover with riffs, think Reba’s side-project Adventures.
Despite being a nice change of pace from the relentless bombardment of angst and rage, The Mud and The New Reality see the band return to their metallic hardcore roots. It’s here where the record begins to wear a little thin, especially with The Mud, which offers nothing more than a tedious four-minute slog.
With the middle section of the record failing to capture the imagination, it’s the introduction of Ugly that proves to be another turning point on the record. Debuted on BBC Radio One, Ugly sees the band slow things down a touch, as their more melodic side shines through. No One is Untouchable follows briefly and throws the listener back into the heavier side of Code Orange flawlessly, before Hurt Goes On and dream2 bring the winding road of Forever to an end.
Standout Tracks: Forever, Bleeding in the Bur, Ugly
For Fans Of: Oathbreaker, Knocked Loose
Written by Daniel Rourke