In the mid-1990s, Fear Factory introduced a series of tropes into the metal canon that …
Code Orange’s fourth record Underneath is not an easy listen, even if you live and breathe pig squeals and breakdowns.
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Glitched out shrieks, fuzzed distortion, and children’s laughter will raise the hairs on your arms. But, it’s enjoyable? Code Orange have gone even heavier, which will easily satisfy their original fanbase. As always, there’s no guessing where the Pittsburgh natives will take each moment.
Around the 2:40 mark of In Fear, the song surges with a galloping riff blending seamlessly with a tempo change. You and You Alone has a brief turn from Reba Meyers, guitarist and shared frontwoman, who snarls in Autumn and Carbine with just the right tinge of malice. Her standout vocals are fleshed out further in Sulfur Surrounding. Hell, it could even feature on a mainstream radio station as their token rock track for the hour; ditto for The Easy Way.
Some artists are bending genres; Code Orange are gripping them by the throat and contorting them beyond recognition.
That’s how deftly the band shift between identities with each feeling like a skintight fit. On the other end of the spectrum, Who I Am sounds like a 90s anthem that Marilyn Manson would be proud to claim. It all comes crashing down into a scratched CD skip (a what? – ed.) that leads right into Cold.Metal.Place which all but stops to let us catch our breaths. That is, until a double kick beatdown riff complete with guitar string bends throws us right back in. Similarly, it’s shown in a tightly controlled Back Inside The Glass’, its “Open up and let it back inside” refrain provides a perfect example of why Code Orange aren’t just propped as the leaders of the new crowd for throwing a few sounds in a blender; they have the artistic talent to back it right up. Some artists are bending genres; Code Orange are gripping them by the throat and contorting them beyond recognition. Underneath is one of the year’s strongest offerings that doesn’t fit into any box and is all the better for it.
STANDOUT TRACKS: You and You Alone, The Easy Way, Swallowing the Rabbit Whole
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Knocked Loose, Vein, Nine Inch Nails