Review: Code Orange – Forever

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Code Orange are the nu-metal messiah you didn’t know you were waiting for.

The power of youth in the Age Of Information, at least creatively speaking, is to gaze upon all that came before you with a fresh perspective and no emotional baggage of what anything from the past signified at the time of its making. Luckily for us, Code Orange stumbled upon the forgotten musical empire of 90’s alt-metal, long reduced to rubble, and picked fine diamonds from amongst the rough of hammy rap verses and faux goth choruses littering the blighted landscape to create a concise and diverse album that masterfully blends the murky gloom of Fear Factory‘s melodic side and absurd beatdown riffs that would make Bulldozer proud. I declare Forever to be 2017’s first great hardcore record – let’s dive into why.

Forever comes out of the gate strong on its title track with that badass pick scrape riff that Gojira forgot to put on their last record, framed with a delicious HM-2 muddiness and a perfect floor punching tempo. (Riff in question starts at 0:26)

The track keeps rolling with over-the-top beatdown riffs that feel cartoonishly primal while actually being very cleverly written. This is a major key to Code Orange’s success – disjointed song structures and an extra beat here and there keep you on your toes so you never see the steamroller coming until it’s too late to tell yourself you’re not “supposed” to like music like this.

The very next track “Kill The Creator” keeps the freight train rolling with a d-beat pace and the most refined use yet of one of their definitive songwriting tricks, a guitar sample that cuts out to absolute silence at regular intervals. (Starts @ 1:54)

Three tracks in, now that Code Orange has assured us they are still hardcore kids that know how to write obscenely heavy mosh riffs, the 90’s alt-metal and industrial influence starts to creep in. “Real”, again, sounds like an especially heavy Gojira song run through a nu-metal filter to play up semitone guitar melodies before settling into a brooding industrial stomp. It has one of the cringiest mosh call-outs in recent memory (“This is real now, motherfucker!”) but that double kick riff from the beginning of the track goes so fucking hard that I can’t be too mad about it.

Shit gets REAL WEIRD with the full on power ballad of “Bleeding In The Blur”, four straight minutes of catchy singing over melodic guitar lines and even replete with a shameless guitar solo. There is no mosh in this track, only feels. FFO Breaking Benjamin, Seether, and, uh, Taproot or some shit?

For more beatdown mosh, jam “The New Reality” and “Spy“. For more Nine Inch Nails inspired alt-metal goodness, Give “Ugly“, “Hurt Goes On“, and “dream2” a spin. “dream2” in particular leaves me feeling utterly empty the way the best Alice in Chains and NIN tracks do. The abrupt finish brings this freight train of a record to a close in classic Code Orange “fuck you” fashion.

I guarantee this record will inspire a horde of budding hardcore kids to get into 90’s metal and do an absolute hack job of incorporating it into their sound, but at least we’ll have Forever to look to as an example of how to take the unloved and make it shine. This record is both nostalgic and refreshing, immaculately composed as a complete unit. Distractingly awful self-aggrandizing lyrics are the only reason that I can’t in good conscience give full marks to what is otherwise such a smart and pummeling record. LONG LIVE CODE ORANGE.

4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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Get Forever right here and tell the band, “Hot dang!” on Facebook here.

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  • Rain Poncho W.

    I’m going to check this out purely for the NIN comparison. Thanks, little squash spawn.

  • Guacamole Jim

    “. . . disjointed song structures and an extra beat here and there keep you on your toes so you never see the steamroller coming until it’s too late to tell yourself you’re not ‘supposed’ to like music like this.” Hit the nail on the head, right there. Awesome review – I need to stop sleeping on this album.

  • Sid Vicious Promos

    This is a very good album but I wouldn’t call it the nu metal Messiah. I’m beginning to question if nu metal ever had a messiah to begin with. I’ve been listening to a lot of the nu metal I used to like and so little of it actually holds up.

    • Tim Wilsön

      Deftones were like the messiah but then turned prodigal son post ATF

  • xengineofdeathx

    Awesome review, also I just feel like I should point out that no one fucks with VOD when it comes to almost nu metal hardcore https://youtu.be/TgpI3Cha7Qk

    • Crocodylus★Pontifex

      Their last album was great!

      • xengineofdeathx

        It really was, glad they never decided to dumb down that much. It’s like everything I like about all their albums smashed into one. Even From Bliss..

        • Crocodylus★Pontifex

          Glad they ditched the Bloodsimple thing.

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      I never got into these guys.

      • xengineofdeathx

        I don’t understand that sentence, but to each their own!

        • Sid Vicious Promos

          What I meant was I never got into their music.

          • xengineofdeathx

            No I know, but like… my brain can’t comprehend that.

          • Óðinn

            You should check out their prog stuff.

    • I thought that the album before this one is great, this one’s a step down, but I don’t dislike it.

  • Nice write up Pumpkin Baby, I like this album minus the last two songs and the cringey get up and mosh shout on “Real”. Other than that, it’s a real good album.

    • HessianHunter

      That mosh shout out is pretty unforgivable but at least they’re letting people who only know the records know what their live shows are about.

      • First time I heard it, I was like, “He’s not gonna say motherf……”

  • A singing drummer, eh? More like FFO Don fuckin’ Henley!

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      You forget Levon Helm was a drummer/singer for The Band. Also I hate the Eagles as people so I would never compare them to something good like this. My cousin’s husband does concert lighting and he said they were some of the biggest assholes he’s ever met.

      • They deigned to grace Newfoundland with their presence a few years ago. Total dicks by all accounts of anyone who had to deal with them.

        • Sid Vicious Promos

          I love The Band but I could see that happening. They all had their problems.

          • Óðinn

            Plus, they are not The Band. How arrogant. There are many bands, not just one. 😉

          • Sid Vicious Promos

            That’s their band name. I love them.

          • Óðinn

            Well it’s a very presumptuous name, JJD. They must be bunch of California hipsters millennials.

          • No no, The Eagles! haha

          • Sid Vicious Promos

            I should have guessed

      • Waynecro

        Levon Helm >>>>>>>>>>>

        • Sid Vicious Promos

          He’s so good. I’ma also a huge fan of Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson’s work in The Band.

          • Waynecro

            Indeed. The Band is one of my eternal favorites.

    • Sir Kookaburra The Based
  • Crocodylus★Pontifex

    Did you love it, did you hate it? Codethony Orangetano. Forever.

    • Sid Vicious Promos

      I like what I’m hearing.

    • HessianHunter

      Guh, fuck that dude. I refuse to give his basic ass any more of my clicks. Forever.

      • Crocodylus★Pontifex
        • Dumpster Lung

          Lol I really need to watch a few of this guy’s videos so I can know what his deal is.

          I have seen thumbnails on the Related Videos section on Youtube a million times, but still haven’t watched one.

          • Crocodylus★Pontifex

            Started out as a genuinely passionate music fan sharing albums he enjoyed, then after people put his opinions on a pedestal over there own they turned him into this unlikeable, nit-picky guy who gets paid doing something he once did out of passion. The people turned Fantano from this music happy dude into full-fleshed, run of the mil critic, only with memes.

          • Dumpster Lung

            Damn, that’s kind of depressing lol.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I sort of dug a couple o’ tracks from the sort-of-debut, so I checked some from this. Nope.

  • Shakes 999

    Gave it a few spins, got bored, forgot about it. Wasn’t bad per se, just didn’t really hold my attention.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Damnit, now there’s another hardcore band that I like. You guys are killing any cred that I had.

    • Eliza

      The more I listen from this band, the more I start to question my avoiding of anything hardcore.

  • Howard Dean
  • Eliza

    This is not bad, and the Gojira mention piqued my interest.

    • Dumpster Lung

      I still need to give it a full listen, but I think I’ll probably feel about the same based on how I felt about the few embedded tracks.

      EDIT: I think that song “Real” just killed it for me haha. I do still like the other songs I’ve heard well enough, though.

      • Eliza

        I see. I get why people like it after listening to it, but I can’t say I’m wild about it. It’s good for what it is, but I want something similar, I’ll just listen to Gojira’s Terra Incognita again.

  • Óðinn

    Thanks, HessianHunter.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    I enjoyed the write up but I’m “eh” on the tunes. Good job Hessian Hunter, nice to see your name in the byline.

    • Tim Wilsön

      imo it works more as a back to front listen. Doesn’t have many tunes but it seems like a listening experience which is pretty rare in hxc

  • Tim Wilsön

    I am 90% sure that this and the new RTJ will be my 2 favorite albums for this year and it’s only been a month. 2017 seems like it blew it’s load reaaally early

    • RustyShackleford

      TECHNICALLY didn’t RTJ 3 come out on Xmas Eve? Or does that not count because it was only digital? Either way it’s obviously siqqqqqq

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        ‘Twas “leaked” by the band. Officially in 2017.

        • RustyShackleford

          Ah I see. Since I was able to get it via Apple Music on that day I just assumed it was more official than leaked.

    • Jack Rabbit

      New RTJ was soo good, but I don’t know if I would rank it higher than RTJ2

  • sweetooth0

    ha, the singing on the chorus parts for “Ugly” sounds like Stabbing Westward. Actually all in all that’s what these NIN inspired songs you mention sound like to me.

    • Rain Poncho W.

      You gotten your “physical component” yet?

      • sweetooth0

        no, still waiting.

        • Rain Poncho W.

          Same 🙁

  • slipjackthewanderer

    Spot-on review. Great album and Bleeding in the Blur makes me pine for a new Adventures album.

  • RustyShackleford

    I keep jamming little bits and pieces of this album but haven’t been able to give the whole thing a proper go through. Too much time at work lately! Great review though Pumpkin Baby. Yep!

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Is this who chris barnes is taking on his next tour?

  • Hans Gruber

    I am intrigued.
    The protagonist of that second video seemed familiar…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBqM2ytqHY4

  • Waynecro

    Great review, HessianHunter! None of these jams tickle my meatpickle immediately, but blasting the entire album in the gym may change that.

  • Old Man Doom

    Been seeing these guys around everywhere recently. Gonna check ’em out now, HH. I could always go for some stupidly catchy meathead riffs.