Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Code Orange "I Am King" (2014)

Code Orange's latest release Forever was certainly an intriguing listen when we look past the apparent upfront brutality. Released three years earlier, I Am King is the groups second release and one I am far more fond of, where Forever has a manipulating hand of mischievous intent that seems to intentionally derange the music, this release is much more conventional however they strike a balance where the unorthodox and heretic meddles within the walls of expectation.

Kicking off with a booming, harrowing synth, chopping in and out of focus the band fire up moments later with a manic wall of sound before dropping into a fiery guitar thrashing. It breaks to noisy dissonant chords, dense in atmosphere then jumps forward into a bouncy Nu Metal like riff. Then with a switch into a circle pit paced hardcore stomp, back to the wall of sound and then slamming into a beat down it sets us on a ride. You get the picture, its all over the place, back and forth, setting the tone for whats to come, a restless erratic energy that will switch and shuffle on you seamlessly, despite the difference, without a moment for you to rest.

All though this churning is true in parts, after the first track things seem to fall into place, each song focusing on its flavor of chaos that emerged in the opening calamity of styles. "Dream In Inertia" offers a different spice, its a slow dreary track of gloomy echoing acoustics and hammered out power chords slugging at a slower pace, the band come back to this on "Starve" and the two break the flow. It holds up well between a constant pummeling of ripe, enthusiastic fist thrashing heaviness of hard, angry music that's got the boldness to strike for atmosphere and use slow bludgeoning riffage as its weapon of distraction.

This would of been a much better introduction to the band. For thirty two minutes they have you at their mercy, within familiar conventions. The sprawl of aggression is menacing and it kicks hard and doesn't let up to its last breath which suits a short listen well. The albums production is rock solid and captures a lot of texture and tone in the guitars which is important in its dissonant and noisy sections. A much better record than its successor however that wild experimentation may have something yet to give. A mix between these to stages would be ideal.

Favorite Tracks: Slowburn, Alone In A Room
Rating: 8/10