Three years doesn’t seem like a long time in the context of an album cycle. But the three years Code Orange have taken since 2014’s I Am King has felt like – pun intended – forever. 2017 has finally arrived and the Pittsburgh 4-piece dropped their most unrelenting release yet – Forever. The band’s third full length saw a label change that many were anxious about. Their former label, Deathwish, seemed the perfect fit for Code Orange’s no holds barred sound, but the move to Roadrunner didn’t see the band letting up at all. If anything, their newest effort is even more unforgiving and heavy, which back in 2014, didn’t seem possible.
The album opens up with title track Forever, a visceral 3 minutes that you can’t help but head-bang and gurn along to. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from Code Orange – a chaotic blend of hardcore and metal. This quickly changes though, as Kill The Creator goes down an industrial metal route, with sections having the heavy guitars and drums switched out for glitching electronics. The industrial theme crops up quite often on Forever, with tracks Real and The Mud drawing obvious influences from the genre. At times the editing of these industrial moments are quite jarring. It almost seems hastily put together, but this is a feeling Code Orange wants the listener to experience. The band want you to feel uncomfortable at times, and they more than pull that off.
Code Orange aren’t done breaking down genre barriers yet, as songs Bleeding The Blur and Ugly have a definite grunge feel to them, but don’t get this album wrong, there is still Code Orange’s signature heavy style. Tracks Spy and No One Is Untouchable are full of the chaotic hardcore Code Orange fans have came to expect, while The New Reality is beatdown through and through. Somehow Code Orange manage to blend all these genres in to a coherent album without letting any one influence take over. And although there are softer moments on Forever, none tend to stick out like a sore thumb, which is often the case when heavy bands have these moments on their releases.
Another surprise on Forever is the amount of clean vocals. Code Orange haven’t been strangers to clean vocals, but they primarily only appear as moody spoken word, hidden in the mix. 2017 sees cleanly sung vocals pushed forward in the mix, and fans of Adventures will definitely welcome guitarist/vocalist Reba Meyers’ singing on Bleeding The Blur and Dream2.
Forever sees Code Orange branch out in to different genres while, simultaneously still putting out their most visceral and heavy release to date. Forever is full of moments that surprise, without going stale on repeat listens, merged with the sound curated by the band on previous albums. Even though the year is only 2 months old, Code Orange’s Forever is a definite contender for album of the year.
Code Orange Is Forever