Review: Code Orange - Underneath
Pittsburgh's Code Orange has been crowned the future of metal by many fans and well respected musicians in the industry including Corey Taylor of the legendary Slipknot. After a Grammy nomination and a slew of hype the band looks to return with their new record and deliver once again as they have in the past. Formed in 2008 ,Code Orange, is now well past their old era as Code Orange Kids and fully in swing with a far more mature and planned out sound. While previous records like I Am King and Forever garnered tons of praise, acclaim and a major record deal with Roadrunner Records, Underneath is the total package of everything I've believed the group to be capable of. Code Orange is not just a critic and hipster pleasing band like we've seen with many bands from the underground, they've also built a die-hard and dedicated true fan-base unlike most have been able to do.
Underneath begins with interlude Deeper Than Before, which the band has stated is being used as a binding tie of shorts to close the door on 2017's Forever and open the door on their new effort. Swallowing The Rabbit Hole pounds the listener over the head shifting gears seemingly every second. This track and Code Orange as a whole can be described as the musically equivalent of a car crash. In Fear sees the group incorporate their fondness for innovation with glitchy programming from Eric Balderose .The song gets torn apart and pieced back together several times. While it may be off putting to some, I really enjoy the jarring nature of Code Orange's music.
The band never fails to step outside the box of their hardcore origins, with elements of Type O Negative, Alice In Chains, and Slipknot showing up in parts of the record. In many cases when guitarist Reba Meyers takes over the main vocal duties it is for more grunge centered tracks and she is the ideal choice for these more alternative based songs. Her voice adds a great touch to the often hardly yelled and growled vocals. Cold Metal Place further launches into a nonstop assault on the senses never giving the listener a chance to get comfortable with any one sound . Code Orange brings perhaps more integrity and genuine creativity to the table than any band on earth at the moment. On the second single, Sulfur Surrounding the band further embraces alternative hard rock and grunge managing to be both melodic and chaotic simultaneously.
Despite several brief respites if you want to call them that, Underneath never truly relents. The Easy Way features the bands fondness for Nine Inch Nails, which they've never been shy about going as far as having programming from the band themselves featured on the record. Erasure Scan and Last One Left swing right back into it with new takes on older Code Orange sounds but with updated glitches and jarring cuts. While the band has gone further into experimentation they have lost none of their signature crushing riffs and hardness. In fact the band has added several new riffing styles with one even sounding very similar to After The Burial, something I'd never expect to hear.
Picking favorites and recommending tracks from Underneath is nearly impossible but I'm going to do my very best. Swallowing the Rabbit Whole was a fantastic single choice to display the bands new approach with heavy usage of programming. Cold.Metal.Place showcases a new riffing approach for the band, one I'd love to see them further explore. Erasure Scan is a wonderfully bludgeoning track. In short however, I love very track and believe they all are vital to the totality of the record. Code Oranges once again to make a record of the year contender and further push metals boundaries as only they can. While there might be bigger bands, there is arguably none better or more important at this very moment. Underneath gets a perfect 5 out of 5 stars from us.