Code Orange

I Am King

Written by: PP on 04/01/2015 22:29:58

After a few listens to the new Code Orange (previously Code Orange Kids) album "I Am King", it is no surprise to find the record label behind the release to be Deathwish inc and the man behind the producer knobs to be Kurt Ballou. It's one twisted, soul-crushingly heavy taken on hardcore, a highly experimental and challenging listen that explores the outer realms of what is possible to do with hardcore as a genre. It's a truly evil, murky, and oppressive sound, delivered with a painstaking tempo and song structures that are truly unconventional and innovative by their nature. The slow, brutal melodies are as metallic as they are blackened and brooding, as experimentalist and avant-garde as they are difficult to understand as a listener. And no, this is no beatdown hardcore, even though the general atmosphere of the record is one of down tempo and monstrously heavy, down-tuned guitars. This record is about a sinister ambiance, a droning atmosphere, and a sludgy, ugly, and barren landscape of a hopeless post-apocalyptic world translated into sonic form.

Basically, it's either utterly genius or totally pointless, depending on where you're coming from. Much of the material you have heard Converge experiment with on especially "Jane Doe" but also on "You Fail Me" albums. "Dreams In Inertia" is one of these, aggregating a shoegaze/indie vibe into an otherwise savage song. "Unclean Spirit" borrows from grindcore in its unparalleled devastation and discordance delivered through a sludge filter. In many places, the desire to experiment with hardcore as a genre echoes Paint It Black in principle, although sound wise they don't have much in common. The idea has been to push the envelope out of this solar system, and in that sense, Code Orange have succeeded in creating one of the most experimental and challenging listens for a hardcore album since, well, probably ever.

At the same time, there's a nagging feeling lurking right beneath the experimental brutality and nonsensical song structures. It's a vibe that says Code Orange are still, at their heart, a metallic hardcore band not that different from what the rest of the genre produces, despite attempting to mask it with a slow tempo and influence from other genres. On too many tracks, they merely pummel away in an odd tempo and weirdly structured songs, but does it really get anywhere? I'm gonna call the bluff and say no. The hype surrounding this release is ridiculous, but it is nowhere near the best albums in hardcore from 2014, despite offering a truly different interpretation of metallic hardcore.


Download: I Am King, Dreams In Inertia, My World, Your Body Is Ready..
For the fans of: Converge, The Locust, Disembodied
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.09.2014
Deathwish Inc

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