Code Orange – Underneath (Album Review)
Code Orange – Underneath
Released: 13th of March, 2020
Eric Balderose // Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, Programming
Reba Meyers // Vocals, Guitar
Jami Morgan // Vocals, Drums
Joe Goldman // Bass
Dominic Landolina // Guitar
Code Orange are not a band who do anything by half measures. Whether it’s in their albums, art or just their need to tour on festivals comprised mostly of rap acts. This band has consistently and methodically fucked with your expectations since the day they burst onto the scene. Their previous album, Forever, is still to this day one of the best hardcore albums of the last decade. That’s just fact.
So, it’s with much anticipation that they follow-up with Underneath; an album that will undoubtedly cement their status as one of the best bands heavy music has ever produced.
Yeah, I know, hyperbole. Scary.
But hear me out, from the moment this album opens under a squeal of feedback and noise. It grabs a hold of you and never lets you go. ‘Swallowing The Rabbit Hole’ plays like Code Orange, if they crawled through broken glass and shit, with a riff so hard it could rip the skin from your flesh. ‘In Fear’ ramps up the industrial elements to astronomical levels. It’s as if the song was recorded, then cut up into pieces and smashed back together until it formed this disorientating juggernaut.
The album oozes experimentation from every pore. Songs like ‘Who I Am’ sees Reba Meyers take lead vocals on this almost grunge-like, broken, catchy, absolutely spastic anthem for the disaffected. Then to follow on from this with ‘Cold Metal Place’ only adds to the disorientating way in which Underneath infects every aspect of your listening experience. It’s hard as fuck and soul crushing in the most beautiful way possible. Then there’s the almost popish, ‘Sulfur Surrounding’ this song pushes your expectations of everything this band is, the haunting vocals meet industrial madness and ultimately coalesce into something that is both catchy and brutal at the same time.
I guess you could say that I could gush about this album forever. But there’s so many things it just does right. ‘The Easy Way’ for instance is going to be sung by every single person in the room with this band for the rest of eternity. It’s the kind of industrial anthem that would make Trent Reznor jealous with envy and then ‘Erasure Scan’ and ‘Last One Left’ wipe that clean with the way it just wants to absolutely eat your face off with absolutely fucking earth shattering hardcore riffs.
The album ends with ‘Underneath’ which is, in many ways, a perfect summation of everything this album does so well. Meyers vocals meets Jami Morgan’s vocals and together they lead the band in one finale burst of chaotic, industrial hardcore destruction.
Honestly, if there’s anything to take away from this album, it’s as I’ve stated many times already – the experimentation is real. This is not a band resting on their laurels. The industrial elements in particular have pushed this band far beyond your atypical hardcore band.
Code Orange has taken the rule book of heavy metal and utterly shattered it. Now the organism they have formed is before you, with its flesh stripped bare, screaming in your face until you can’t ignore it anymore.
Underneath is the moment this band takes the stage as one of the most inventive bands in heavy music.
Ignore them at your own risk.
Code Orange – Underneath tracklist
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
Underneath is out Friday 13th March via Roadrunner Records. Pre-order Here.
Review by Kaydan Howison
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