Metalcore is not something that is well respected in the Metal community, it’s often charged with relying heavily on formulaic songwriting and overuse of boring breakdowns that don’t really display either skill or creativity. Code Orange however clearly set out to prove the critics wrong on their latest full length album titled Forever. This album is filled to the brim with heavy riffs, crushing breakdowns that actually add to the songs and angsty lyrics, held together by crisp production that compliments the heaviness of their guitars and the crunchiness of their bass tone. The album displays influences from a wide range of genres without losing its direction, pulling from industrial, metalcore, hardcore, punk, grunge, indie and even including brief elements of dark hip hop beats like in the song Real. The song features a fuzzy bass line that sounds like it belongs on a Death Grips track and shows us that Code Orange is more than willing to experiment and deviate from the norm on this album.
Kill the Creator however is incredibly fast and thrashy, providing an increasingly tense buildup to the breakdown, slowing down into a d-beat section that sounds undeniably heavy. The song ends with some arpeggiated diminished melodies that are accentuated with eerie synth and epic sounding distorted guitar stabs. Bleeding in the Blur opens with a clean-toned intro that makes use of haunting melodies and even employs harmonics to create atmosphere before breaking into some clean vocals from the band’s guitar player Reba Meyers. Her melodic singing combined with some pretty pop-ish chords somewhat remind me of Hole, but more evil and with more balls. The heavier sections of the next track The Mud are separated with some electronic and industrial style beats that further enforce the fact that code orange are up for some experimentation in the album’s sound, the track closes with what I consider to be easily the best breakdown on the album. The band’s grunge/indie influences certainly show through on the song Ugly, containing a guitar riff that you could easily see being written by Kurt Cobain himself and these haunting whispered vocals layered on top. The song’s chorus features raspy and powerful clean vocals which are probably the most standout on the album.
The production on this album is overall standout, the tone of every instrument; especially the bass sounds absolutely crushing and is thoroughly fitting for the style of these tracks. One problem I have however is that occasionally the songs break into these eerie sections riddled with movie clips and rumbling synths but the transitions from the heavy sections are hardly smooth and feature some obvious clipping. Even the closing track has this problem, as it sounds as if the ending was accidentally cut off short; however it helps it blend into the intro of the first track, meaning the album comes full circle. If you’re not listening to this album on repeat however, it will just leave you confused. Speaking of the last track, dream2 is a slow, melodic and dreamy song filled with sung vocals from multiple band members and guitar melodies that leave you somewhat lost in the music for a moment or two. Overall this album is probably one of the best Metalcore projects I’ve heard in a while; I’d definitely recommend this album to anyone looking for a hard hitting experience with variety that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Bleeding in the Blur, dream2, The Mud, Ugly, Real
Overall Rating: Excellent