Code Orange “The Above”

I waited a long time to review this record just because of how dense it is and it’s obvious that so much work went into crafting these songs and I really wanted to give it a few listens before cementing an opinion. It’s a big record, for an important band and they did a lot here. So here it goes.

It’s a justified release by a talented group that seemingly executes the impossible. Massive ideas, sandwiched by even bigger monolithic visions of grandiose auditory madness somehow weave seemingly in a way that only Code Orange can deliver. The electronics are there in heightened form, sewn in by the band’s brand of signature breakdowns. There are more cleans and melodies than ever, but we should have seen that coming with what’s been going on with the band’s prior releases leading up to this one. Yet even though it walks and talks like a Code Orange album we’d quickly want to lap up and chisel into greatness, it just feels so absolutely all over the place.

This is an evolution that seems unavoidable for the band. The elements that are explored here aren’t really new to them, but just extended a bit more and developed further, perhaps where budget and time restraints may have held Code Orange back in the past. But still for all its bells and whistles, it doesn’t change the fact that some of these songs just aren’t very good and just overpacked with “stuff” really, that just come off as this alternative metal music collage that feels like this weird fluff piece that’s oddly super self-indulgent. The most obvious is Billy Corgan’s strange nursery rhyme sonnet on the record’s lead single “Take Shape” that drops from a trap door in the ceiling and is practically forced into the song.

That whole song with it’s ridiculous chorus feels like a track that came from Switched’s 2001 banger titled “Walk Away.” Something about all these nu metal melodies coming back that just makes me want to shake my head and wonder what exactly is happening and why we’re strangely going backwards in time towards cheeseball wankery (see Fuming Mouth’s latest radio friendly single). BTBAM cut the shit when they put emo and death metal in their place. Ever since then we’ve seemingly gone all over the place and I’m not sure exactly how this will play out in the long run.

Will Code Orange bring this back to This Is Hardcore? Will they eventually turn into some version of Avenged Sevenfold alongside Knocked Loose and Turnstile, who collectively will be the new Slipknot, Green Day and Bring Me The Horizon? Could be cool. If Code Orange is the headliner on Saturday at Hellfest, that would be much better than what we’re getting for 2024.

But with all that being said, you just absolutely have to go listen to this record.

3/3 @therecentlyadded

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