Code Orange – Forever
Released – Jan 13 2017
Code Orange Line up —
Eric Balderose // Guitar, Vocals & Synthesiser
Reba Meyers // Vocals & Guitar
Jami Morgan // Drums & Vocals
Joe Goldman // Bass
Code Orange Online —
Code Orange aptly call themselves the ‘thinners of the herd’. I say aptly because Forever has effectively thinned the number of hardcore albums I’ll need this year to one.
From the exact moment that the disgustingly heavy title track and album opener starts, you know you’re in for a journey akin to descending into the reeking depths of Hell. Ear splitting feedback lays the backbone for the introduction, rattling the teeth inside your skull; but when Jami Morgan and Joe Goldman start hammering on their respective instruments your teeth are blown out of your head. It is inconceivable amounts of aggression that fuel this song and subsequent tracks ‘Kill The Creator’ and ‘Real’. All three are exercises in destruction that aim to explode your heart within your chest, not just with speed but with unsettling disorientation as well. Abruptly morphing between relentlessly crushing riffs to brief ambience laden interludes or even just plain static.
‘Bleeding in the Blur’ comes off the back of the sludge ridden ‘Real’, an unexpected change of pace but it seems to be all in the master plan of keeping the listener second guessing themselves. The clean vocals of Reba Meyers are stunning. Hauntingly paired with the her pulsing strings, it pushes the song to its grungy rock inspired climax and into the synth heavy minimalism that is the introduction to ‘The Mud’. Tracks like this are some of my favourite additions to the repertoire of Code Orange, as they’ve forever (ha) been ones to shrug off the norm and genre restrictions, allowing them to explore any musical avenue they seem fit. However, synthesised voices and eerie electronics are only a shroud, as ‘The Mud’ shrugs it off and blasts into a stomping, violent section, feeding into ‘The New Reality’, bringing back the belaboured hammering of the albums’s beginning.
The guitar work of Meyers and Eric Balderose is stellar through the entire album, but is truly accentuated by the dark brooding electronics laid over ‘Spy’, sounding as if the two are torturing their instruments instead of actually playing them. The band trudges through a hellishly heavy ending before the softer tones of ‘Ugly’ reach your ears. Things don’t stay soft for long though as the guitars capitalise on the grungy, distorted tones set out earlier in the album, turning ‘Ugly’ into an anthemic masterpiece. The production for the entire album is clearly Code Orange; gritty, rough and hard on the ears. The band said it themselves; “ugly is the only way I know how to be.”
The last heavy song of the album ‘No One Is Untouchable’ reeks of old sludge vibes that progress into doom/death territory; each damning bass kick reverberating in your chest before dissipating into the slow and melodic ‘Hurt Goes On’. The last song that rounds off the rancid (but oh so beautiful) Forever is ‘dream2’, an eerie, emotive dirge that after the relentlessness of the album is almost soothing if it didn’t make you want to cry. However, it is a fitting end, it expresses the extremes that this band is capable of and gives you the perfect reason to start the album all over again while you busy yourself picking up bits of grey matter and skull fragments from the ceiling.
Forever calls to mind images of wading through a sea of corpses and being engulfed in a storm of searing blood where all sense of direction is lost. Code Orange may crush you, tear you apart and mash your ragged limbs back together, but it’s all worth it if you get to listen to Forever just one more time. As creative as my words are, they still fall well short of how this album made me feel. Forever is a testament to base aggression and fear, a testament to how much beauty you can find in utter destruction.
Rating: 5/5 — Dylonov Tomasivich
Forever Track Listing —
- Kill The Creator
- Bleeding In The Blur
- The Mud
- The New Reality
- No One Is Untouchable
- Hurt Goes On