Saturday 21 March 2020

Album Review: CODE ORANGE - Underneath

Code Orange - Underneath

01. (deeperthanbefore)
02. Swallowing The Rabbit Whole
03. In Fear
04. You And You Alone
05. Who I Am
06. Cold.Metal.Place
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
14. Underneath
The hype surrounding this new Code Orange record is inescapable. 5 K's in Kerrang!, 10/10 in Metal Hammer, and 5/5 in The Guardian!!!, amongst others. Being a massive cynic, I wonder if this album really does live up to the hype? It's obvious that a lot of money has been thrown at them by Roadrunner Records, and these amazing mainstream reviews may have been effectively paid for? I'm sure Roadrunner want to create a new Metal goliath on their roster, as they did with Slipknot, Machine Head, and, er, Nickelback many years ago, and it seems that they are really trying to make Code Orange 'happen'. 

Swallowing The Rabbit Whole is pretty brutal and sounds to my ears like early Machine Head, Meshuggah, and Ministry all mixed together. Fuck it, throw a bit of Slipknot in too! It really does remind me of that time in the mid-to-late 90's when Roadrunner redefined and dominated Metal. Code Orange even have the 'Davidian harmonics' in there.

The title track has more of a Nine Inch Nails vibe going on, at least in the verses. It also reminds me of Glam/Industrial band Shotgun Messiah's Violent New Breed album, which incidentally was out on Roadrunner in some countries in the mid 90's. That's not a bad thing, as that's one of the greatest albums ever made. Anyway, the song Underneath is kinda awesome and has some huge hooks in that chorus, courtesy of guitarist Reb Meyers' vocals. The band certainly benefits from having more than one vocalist, and this track is the perfect example of that working so well.

I haven't listened to Code Orange before, so can't comment on their evolution, but this record is quite diverse, with elements of Nu Metal, Hardcore, Industrial, and even some Grunge which, along with different lead vocals, makes the album more interesting and listenable. There are no dull moments here, even though a few of the more brutal tracks border on the generic.

My only real gripe with the music is the 'glitch' element in some of the songs. Maybe I'm old, but I don't like glitch at all. The sound of something glitching isn't supposed to be nice to listen to. It's actually really annoying. The track In Fear is a great example of an otherwise cool song marred by this trendy technique.

Aside from the aforementioned title track, which is the best song on here, I really like the 'Slipknot-meets-Grunge' of Sulfur Surrounding and Autumn and Carbine. I also rate The Easy Way, as it has a massive catchy chorus, and for me is the second-best track and an obvious choice for a future single.

Despite my initial cynicism, there is no denying that Underneath is a very good Metal record, and their increase in popularity over the coming months is inevitable.


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