It has been 3 years since Pennsylvanians CODE ORANGE took the hardcore scene by storm with their sophomore album “I Am King”. Now they are back with a new record label in industry titans “Roadrunner”, a new album named “Forever” and possibly many a reason to talk about them until they surprise us once again. In a genre that has been around for decades, every CODE ORANGE release had something new and fresh to offer, and “Forever” is no exception.
Some albums like to build themselves up, kinda ease the listener into what they are all about. Well, “Forever” is no such album. The sheer brutality that accompanies the record’s music is felt in its very early seconds. As the power chords of the title track hit, the cluster of hateful riffs and breakdowns feel like they press their fingers into your eyeballs and they only squeeze tighter as you go through the record’s length. The overall violent-provoking vibe is even more intense than their previous releases and that’s quite a statement considering they already have a quite brutal discography to show for themselves. By the time you reach the 3rd track, “Real”, you begin to notice the exceptional work that has been done in the guitar compositions, offering crushing chords and chuggy breakdowns that make your spine feel like it’s about to be shattered into pieces, while the basslines work as an foundation that amplifies the force those riffs impact you with. The drums are also very well implemented into the compositions. While not being flashy, they are still fast when they need to be or super groovy when it complements the song’s layout.
“CODE ORANGE push the boundaries in what can be heard in a hardcore record and expand the genre as a whole”
“Bleeding In The Blur” almost caught me off guard since the sound the album presented up until that point was completely different. Instead of what has been a violent riff-fest, the band now shows us a mellower side that uses a 90’s grunge style in both instruments and Reba Meyers’ beautiful vocals, quite similar to her other band’s ADVENTURES style. The amount of overall influences heard in this music record is fascinating. Anything from hardcore punk, powerviolence, beatdown hardcore, nu metal grunge, industrial and alternative rock is heard throughout the songs, all without compromising the band’s distinctive sound. Unfortunately, not all of those styles work for them. Nearing the end of the album the band sacrifices most of the brutality in return for experimenting with sounds reminiscent of NINE INCH NAILS (I’m looking at you “Ugly”) or RAMMSTEIN which might fit in the albums overall feel and atmosphere, but as individual songs are the weakest on the album and slow the pace down compared to what was until then a beautiful rhythmic soundwave of havoc in songs such as “Kill The Creator” and “The New Reality”.
The production was attended by CONVERGE’S guitarist Kurt Ballou who has also been responsible for mixing and producing bands like NAILS, OATHBREAKER, HARM’S WAY and KVELERTAK among others. The result is nothing short of amazing. The vocals sound bright and clear while the instruments sound big and chunky. The synths and samples heard during the album create a haunting atmosphere with a cyber-twist constructed by glitches and stutter effects that flatter the overall feel of the record.
In conclusion, if getting punched in the face is your thing you are gonna like this album. If not, you’re gonna start liking getting punched in the face. CODE ORANGE push the boundaries in what can be heard in a hardcore record and expand the genre as a whole, giving us a dreadnought album in “Forever”. Suffice to say, the kids are alright.