April 22, 2024

New Fury Media

Music. Gaming. Nostalgia. Culture.

Code Orange continue to prove that the only new reality is the one they create for themselves

Code Orange seem to have just about everything figured out, don’t they? Emerging onto the scene (as Code Orange Kids) with their 2012 Deathwish debut full-length Love Is Love // Return To Dust, the very young band (at the time) wore their ferocious influences on their collective sleeves. It’s extremely impressive how they managed to go from underground favorites to Grammy-nominated (twice!!!) in less than a decade. What’s also intriguing is that Code Orange doesn’t sound worlds apart from their original sound, though it is a generally more accessible and melodic one.

You’re probably wondering how Code Orange arrived at this point, though. It wasn’t necessarily the name change that I Am King signaled, though stylistically it differed from their debut. No, it was 2017’s Forever that brought the band to a new audience, both via Roadrunner Records as well as to the greater public as a whole. It was not long after the album release when Code Orange started working with Slipknot’s Corey Taylor (“The Hunt”), appearing all over live wrestling shows, and receiving some of their biggest attention at the time.

The band’s early material, especially Love Is Love // Return To Dust, pushed their name into the underground right away. Tracks like “Around My Neck / On My Head” and “Roots Are Certain / Sky Is Empty” are unrelenting in their heaviness, their metalcore influences threatening to derail the song at any point and time. Meanwhile, the album’s closing track crawls at a slug’s pace, with Code Orange’s sludgier influences pulling through. Their debut full-length is a masterclass in pulling together disparate influences

The biggest difference between Love Is Love and I Am King is that the songs are given more room to breathe. It’s similar to the stylistic leap forward that bands like Touché Amore underwent. While it’s true there’s plenty of fascinating aspects of a band packing quality into under two minutes (just ask Vein.fm, Touché Amore, and some of the rest of their peers), it’s even more interesting when the songs are lengthier and it’s still done with consistency. Both the album’s title track and wild card “Dreams In Inertia” embody those abilities well enough, just in different ways.

Forever and 2020’s Underneath ended up truly the band’s quantum leaps forward, however, especially in terms of popularity. The title track to the former ended up being Code Orange’s first Grammy nomination, while Underneath saw them really lengthening the album’s runtime with more electronic and industrial influences. “Bleeding In The Blur” even sees the band throwing it back to their side project Adventures (RIP) with a more alternative rock influence, while “Kill The Creator” and “Sulfur Surrounding” remind you that Code Orange haven’t gone soft or anything. (who really thinks that?)

Code Orange never outgrew the underground basements in which they got their start, though. Instead, they transcended them. Providing a violent, visceral listening experience has always been a priority for the band, and whether you discovered them through their earliest material or became a fan after they were nominated for Grammys, the song does indeed remain the same – even if the style has changed. With influences pulled from all across multiple genres (grunge, metalcore, industrial, nu-metal, mathcore, alternative metal, and probably a dozen more), you can put Code Orange in a box at your own risk.


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