Code Orange - Underneath (2020)
Code Orange are a metalcore band from Pittsburgh who made waves on my radar back in 2017, when a number of rock/metal critics who I follow rated Forever surprisingly well; even going so far as to include it on their respective AOTY lists. But then I came here and noticed it was far more controversial than it would seem. So I checked it out… it was pretty good. Granted, I was certainly not the target audience for that album.
And so when I heard Underneath, I thought that the album could have been better and was absolutely a step down from their previous effort. Why? Because Code Orange seems to have doubled down on the electronic/industrial elements, and it does make for a fairly enjoyable, if somewhat jarring project.
And this group is playing into two styles. The first is the heavy breakdown influence of metalcore, and an industrial element not dissimilar to a band such as Fear Factory. And I like the Fear Factory influence on this album more, simply because the industrial elements are not pushed to the front of the mix to create peak dissonance. I would say the same thing about the worst moments on clipping.’s last album There Existed An Addiction To Blood.
I prefer this music when (I assume) Reba Meyers takes over lead vocals because those tunes typically have a distinctive hook or melodic idea that is then contorted into some pretty nasty stuff. I like it more than when (again, I assume) Eric Balderose is on lead as the songs feel more like heavy mathcore such as Converge; kind of ironic since this album is not produced by Kurt Ballou.
I didn’t mind this album, even though some of the production choices infuriated me. However, unlike what I said in my review for I Let It In and It Took Everything by Loathe a few weeks ago, this album could have been much better and streamlined if the band knew how to incorporate both of these sounds together into the same tracks, rather than isolating them into their respective tracks.