Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Kill The Creator"

Rating out of 10

Code Orange – Forever

Release Date: 13th January 2017
Roadrunner Records
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/forever/id1168090912

Code Orange are undoubtedly the most hyped band in hardcore right now. If you follow hardcore pages on social media or have friends that like hardcore, you’ll have seen posts about the Pittsburgh four-piece in recent weeks. The hype is surrounding the band’s recently released third album, ‘Forever’, Code Orange’s first with the established Roadrunner Records. So, what makes the quartet stand out against their peers? The desire to do something different with hardcore than just chuck in breakdowns and two step segments. The influences vary dramatically throughout, from metallic hardcore to shoegaze and alternative rock. ‘Forever’ keeps you guessing.

We’ll start with the title track, ‘Forever’, it opens the album with a distorted voice before launching into some nasty grooves; the kind that make you want to bang your head and pull that look like you smell something bad when you hear a tasty riff. The tempo and the tone are heavy for the most part with a few erratic sections, the atmosphere is dark and eerie and aching to cause some violence. The beatdown segments are bound to break a few bones.

‘Kill The Creator’ picks up the urgency towards the beginning circle pit starting rhythms and hard hitting beats. The deep chugs are balanced out by whiney siren-like guitar sounds. It’s a track for experimenting and sound effects as we hear a robotic voice midway through and white noise sounds towards the end. It’s a vibe shifting songs, one that drifts from a song to rock out to, then towards the end, it slows right down and returns to unleashing a dark atmosphere. One that lingers throughout ‘Real’ too.

‘Bleeding in the Blur’ is where the real change kicks in, we are treated to the first cleans on the album; an echoing singing voice to a mid-tempo alt-rock number. The creepy vibes remain in the deep basslines, but the heaviness is dropped. ‘The Mud’ follows up with a very fitting name, the whole feel of the track is muddy, it’s heavy, but ambient, more echoing vocals, and sludgy riffs. It’s a song that makes me feel like I’m walking through dirt. This shoegaze influence is a bit odd to take in, and it fills the song for the first part, suddenly you get 20 seconds of silence and then it takes a dramatic shift, downing like ‘Kill The Creator’ again with its siren-like guitar whines.

It’s not until ‘Ugly’ that my ears are pricked again, purely because of the weird grungy vibe mixed with shoegazey hardcore. The blend of chugging grooves and Soundgarden-esque sound effects with fuzzy vocals layered on top is an interesting mix. ‘No One  Is Untouchable’ follows it as probably my favourite track on the album, it’s somewhat simpler that any of the other tracks, it’s heavy, metallic hardcore that is reminiscent to the album opener. The killer riffs and throat tearing should make you want to lose your shit.

For the full heavy shoegaze effect, ‘Hurt Goes On’ blends that hardcore meets fuzzy tone with a hint of industrial sound effects. It’s an instrumental piece that really shows the experimental side to Code Orange. ‘Dream2’ then closes the album with a melodic piece with more singing, that is somewhat choir-like at first. The guitar sound and melody is incredibly creepy, especially with ambience in the background. The weird part is that the song just cuts out abruptly, no outro. Just mid-sentence the song and album end quite unconventionally.

‘Forever’ is an album that breaks the boundaries of hardcore in a spectacular way. It’s weird because this album doesn’t quite meet my exact tastes in the genre, but I can appreciate the way it differs from the meat and potatoes mould of the genre. ‘Forever’ pulls in a variety of styles to appeal to different tastes and to just keep things interesting is a massive win for Code Orange. It’s a brutal release, but also very clever. it’s something the Pittsburgh lads were experimenting with on their 2014 release ‘I Am King’, only this time it appears that Code Orange have mastered this diverse style of hardcore.

For fans of: Oathbreaker, Harms Way, Brutality Will Prevail

For more Code Orange