Metalcore is temporary, but industrial is forever.
Code Orange takes the sounds of the late 90s and early 200s hardcore/metalcore and bleeds them over with modern industrial and bleak electronics, with the occasional alternative-rock detour, ultimately creating an almost-experimental sound that’s both familiar yet futuristic. All of this is brought to the forefront with the title track of the band’s next LP, ‘Underneath.’ If there was ever a song that could best summarize what Code Orange is about as a unit, ‘Underneath‘ would be on that short-list.
As the tourist said to the suitcase, there’s a lot to unpack here. As my first listen to ‘Underneath‘ was me continually thinking: “Okay, what the fuck is happening?” This song is a glitchy, heavy mess but that’s why it works. It’ll put a lot of people through the wringer, but that’s a good thing: rather something different than something boring that makes core kids feel cool. This sees Code Orange once again prove they don’t wish to lean on their laurels, wanting to expand into weirder and more challenging directions.
Instead of leading with a bruising metalcore-orientated first single, Code Orange has said bollocks to that and have begun the album cycle for ‘Underneath‘ with a darker, dissonant industrial take, and one that thankfully doesn’t meander. It sees guitarist/co-vocalist Reba Meyers swaying her cold, indie-rock clean singing over that Code Orange-branded glitchiness and industrial instrumentation, with everything growing even noisier and dire as the composition moves forward, matching the track’s lyrical theme of identity and an individual breaking down more as they drown under personal duress. It’s kinda like a more twisted, deeper version of ‘Bleeding In The Blur.’ Spliced in between these purposely jarring moments are the group’s more regular metallic hardcore sections, lead by pulverizing guitar riffs, sick harmonics, pounding drums, and the rawer harsh screams of drummer Jami Morgan, who sounds more powerful than ever here. (And who may possibly be taking up the band’s vocal role full-time, if reading between the lines of this music video tells us anything: showing Jami being blurred out as the band supposedly finds a yet-to-be-revealed new drummer.)
It’s a head-scratcher, but a bold one at that. Code Orange could’ve just as easily come back out with “Forever Part 2” to appease most listeners, but instead have made the conscious decision to not hold themselves back creatively, and I respect that so much. Likewise, the band have also put together a comprehensive ARG marketing campaign for ‘Underneath‘, from setting up a phone number people can call in America, a new website, to just ominously sharing the song titles via that hip s p a c e d o u t l o w e r c a s e style alongside creepy images that tie into the artwork and forthcoming videos.
‘Underneath‘ drops March 13th, 2020. Much like ‘Forever,’ this thing is bo doubt going to be fucking huge for the heavy music community in 2020.
‘Underneath’ album art and track-listing below:
swallowing the rabbit whole
you and you alone
who i am
the easy way
last ones left
autumn and carbine
back inside the glass