Forever (Roadrunner) throws some interesting surprises that pay off immensely. The majority of the record is solid beat downs and devastating instrumentals. At times the sound is ripping away like a buzz saw, or slowly turning its gears with immense weight. What helps make Forever a solid release though are the odd surprises within it. These surprises take the listener out of that constant crunch and hardcore slam, and present really terrific spins that are way out there. And with everything together, comes one beastly collection of jams.
Code Orange is all about attitude, and every track really jives with it. This is an act that has been able to take those labels of metalcore and hardcore, and really spice them up. They’ve taken a basic formula and sound, and have added a hefty, angry, and at times creepy atmosphere. These aren’t all pure mosh pit songs, but sincerely music that digs in the mind. Code Orange has a particular mechanical “crunch” to them, and thinking back to I Am King, Forever also grabs hold of that same industrious core. That being said, it would not be fair to sell this album so straight forward. While those particular elements are there, Code Orange also utilizes moments of emotion; these emotions range from hazy and beautiful, to levels of sinister that turn the stomach.
Going back to the first single “Forever” will give the listener an idea of those basic elements. It’s essential to keep in mind however that while these elements make up a strong (and ever-present) core, they don’t stale out. “Forever” is an intro that gets the heart rate picking up with each stomping beat and guitar slide. “Kill The Creator” and “Real” pick up that mechanical sound like a kick to the face, the former throwing in brief moments of minimalism and atmospheric darkness (which sounds similar to parts of Meshuggah’s Obzen). That’s a sound that comes to mind a lot with this record, for there are moments of electric and distant notes that come with a sinister ring. “Real” has a devastating opening with its build up and speed, but oddly it really simmers down as it progresses. Would have been great to see the band add some crazy fast moments to the album. Not that it is slow by any means, but “Real” has a genuinely unique speed to it that isn’t found too much here.
Then comes the first of those odd surprises. “Bleeding In The Blur” takes an insane left turn, taking those core elements we’ve heard so far, slowing them down, and introducing an alternative treat. Clean and beautifully sung vocals are the main component to this pure lyrical work. Upon first listen, this track has the ability to drop jaws, for it sounds like a completely different band. These special surprises also come in tracks such as “Hurt Goes On” and “dream2”. Both songs use minimal openings and a strong balance of different sounds that build up their auras. “Hurt Goes On” is one of the more standout songs in how it uses this dark and semi-robotic opening (which is ironic when the 80s electronics kick in). Towards the end the song takes on a presence similar to Rammstein, as all the parts come together.
The rest of the album takes on the same components found in the first three opening tracks, but luckily mix around structure enough to avoid that staleness. Some examples are how “Ugly” settles down with a layer of haze behind that crunch to create some distance, while “Spy” uses the sound to create a swing and catchy groove throughout the runtime.
Code Orange’s Forever came with more than could be imagined for this band. While at the forefront there is anger and aggression, there lies underneath a whole other beast just as devastating and unique. There is great use of structure, heaviness, surprises, and pure energy from beginning to end in this album. It is not just simply that this is great heavy music, but effective heavy music. It raises the blood pressure, gets the muscles going, and swims around the mind. If Forever is just the beginning, then there’s going to be a hell of a lot more excellence to come with Code Orange.