Having formed in 2008 under the name of Code Orange Kids, the band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania set about playing Punk and by 2012 they started to morph into a less genre friendly-sounding band as they released Love is Love/Return to Dust in 2012 which led to touring with the likes of Terror and LetLive.
I Am King was the first album under the shortened name, as the new era for the band began with heavier musical aspects and less mainstream sounds being utilized. I Am King was released in 2014 and followed by tours with Killswitch Engage and Twitching Tongues. 2017 saw the release of Forever which also saw them work with WWE NXT and led to working with superstars Aleister Black and Bray Wyatt and now we have Underneath.
As the introductory atmospheric opener builds, we are interrupted by the phrase “Let’s take a good look at you” and later some static interference, like the opener to some sort of psychological thriller movie, before the music begins with ‘Swallow The Rabbit Whole’ which you may have already heard. If not, brace yourself for a Dark and Twisted Hardcore sound with a slice of Djent and Punk and if that doesn’t mess your head up, throw in the electronic effects to really keep you on your toes before the breakdown hits then, everything becomes excitingly confusing.
This blend continues to bleed throughout the opening half of the album, aggressive instruments, and effects with an abrasive Hardcore style vocal which compliments the softer vocal we occasionally experience. The music, however, is heavy, industrial and makes you want to smash anything in your path.
Mixed in throughout the album are some more straight forward Heavy Roc/Metal sounding tracks with the vocal occasionally being the cleaner offering however this does not detract from the experience of the album. If anything, it shows the versatility that the band have and don’t assume that the fact that it may sound a little easier going means that there aren’t any hidden surprises just waiting to jump out on you when you least expect it. This is Code Orange after all!!
Underneath is a world-beater in so many aspects. The complexity and intricacies that are displayed are second to none as it would be easy for the concoction of styles to become confused or messy however here they all complement each other and another effect or layer can be identified with every additional play of the album. Code Orange has created a very strong contender for album of the year and has become one of the most important bands in the Rock world.
Underneath is released Friday, March 13th via Roadrunner Records.
02 Swallowing the Rabbit Whole
03 In Fear
04 You and You Alone
05 Who I Am
07 Sulfur Surrounding
08 The Easy Way
09 Erasure Scan
10 Last Ones Left
11 Autumn and Carbine
12 Back Inside the Glass
13 A Sliver