Sunday, 18 June 2017

Code Orange "Forever" (2017)


Previously know as "Code Orange Kids", this brutal Pittsburgh five piece outfit throw down with bloody fists. "Forever" is the groups third and my first. On my radar for a while I only got around to them just before Download Festival when I realized I would get the opportunity to see them. Ive since binged on the brutality and grown to adore this gritty, blunt, meat grinding band who blew me away with their gnarly, intense live performance. This record is a contender for the years heaviest.

With the first few listens my point of reference was strangely enough Deathcore. The reality is its far from, the consistent bludgeoning, chugging and breakdowns mirror that of the aforementioned. The difference its the trope, where techniques and sections once became calculated, predictable and formulaic as hoards of bands rode the wave, the band turn ideas on there side and reinvent the punishment due. Beatdowns are etched in unconventional time patterns, the entry and exit points dislocated. The commonality seems at the constant mercy of the cryptic overbearing hand that twists, slices and distorts the music to its whim. You can expect the building momentum to steer along a new path, the chug to churn a few extra bars or the music to seemingly drop out mid riff to an industrious synth. Amidst the convention this force often hides in the lurking dissonance of eerie guitar distortions or in the refuge of gritty, dense, biting synths that push their way to the forefront.

The band present two sides on this record. Cruel, violent, savagery in their metallic head thrashing numbers and with "Bleeding In The Blur" and "Ugly", refrained tunes one can sing along to. The intensity remains but the punch line comes from tuneful, if not still fiery, guitar riffs that have a more emotional, personal context, tinged with a whiff of Grunge. "The Mud" would serve as a midway point where this other style seems at the mercy of the tempered hand that cuts out the singing mid tempo, plunging it underwater to drown in the unsettling synth phase that replaces if, before splicing into a seemingly more conventional chug, discord, chug, discord riff that's been tortured to deface its usual structure.

The albums aesthetics are another knife edge of brutality. Tonal, thick, dense and cutting guitars bring a metallic texture to Hardcore performing. The drums fire away with a powerful, thudding kick drum and punching snare to cut through to the front. The cymbals are a little downplayed and under them rumbles the enormous bass guitar with a dense gritty, noisy texture that can get behind the rhythm guitar or step up to the front with a menacing prowl. Vocal duties are shared three of the five and the variety adds to the chaos. Reba Meyers voice however has an emotional energy which really elevates, could of done with more of her however it suits the other direction the band can steer in, leaving one wondering how good an album strictly in that stance could be.

"Forever" is a wild and powerful ride at a fast twenty eight minutes, leaving no room for filler or distraction and right to the point record. The mysterious nature of abrupt interruptions and their disjointed relations make me wonder if something more archetypal is at work. In my current state of awe towards such a devastatingly aggressive record Its hard to see its flaws. My main thought is simply how will this hold up over time? I suspect the shock and awe could dull a little over time but right now its unexpectedness is winning me over when i have the appetite for audio punishment.

 Favorite Tracks: Real, Bleeding The Blur, The New Reality, Ugly, No One Is Untouchable
Rating: 7/10

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