After making a splash with the solid ‘I Am King’, Code Orange are bringing in the new year with their latest release, ‘Forever’. 2016 was a phenomenal year in music and, if this record is anything to go by, 2017 isn’t going to be any different.
Within seconds, Code Orange unleash much of the rabid savagery we have come to expect on the album’s titular opener. However, its predecessor ‘Kill The Creator’ hints that this is a far more multi-faceted record than originally expected. Whether pausing their merciless assault to veer into ominous ambience, or adding blasts of choir-ish vocals before allowing the song to crash and burn in a brick wall of feedback, Code Orange thrive on keeping the listener disorientated.
Take ‘The Mud’ for example, the Pittsburgh four-piece effortlessly manage to combine their typical dirt-under-the-nails menace with squelching electronica to create something truly ugly, while ‘Hurt Goes On’’s b-movie horror atmosphere segues into a stomping industrial riff. For all of ‘Forever’’s bile and gloom, it’s hard not to crack a smile.
On previous releases, the band have used their triple vocal attack predominantly to add colour to their riffs, but in keeping with Forever’s constant subversion of expectations, Reba Meyers takes on lead vocal duties on the stupidly catchy ‘Bleeding In The Blur’. Emulating Nirvana at their darkest, the band work in a pop hook and even a guitar solo without ever feeling like a cynical attempt at grabbing the attention of mainstream ears; this is the sound of a band refusing to confine themselves and expanding naturally.
A whirlwind of a record, Code Orange make sure ‘Forever’ stings in all the right places, adding swathes of sonic diversity to their blueprint while remaining just as gnarled and seething as ever. Simply put, if you feel that heavy music has run out of ways to surprise you, this is the record you’ve been waiting for.
‘Forever’ by Code Orange is released on 13th January on Roadrunner Records.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)