Code Orange - I Am King (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Code Orange

I Am King (2014)


Dropping the 'Kids' from their name doesn't stop how massive, heavy and full of rage Code Orange's I Am King shapes up to be, staying in line with what the band has always done best. In case you're still wondering what that is, well, in a nutshell, they pack enormous anger into hardcore pipe—bombs and drop them with no restraint, no afterthought and no care. This kind of liberal fury is exactly what the doctor ordered. And no shocker that Deathwish delivers this remedy.

At first glance, I'll admit parallels are drawn to Norma Jean. Some parts of Code Orange's sound here feel worn out and charted already but many other segments cover more expansive territory. While this experimentation does stand out in its bits and pieces, their spin on death metal is what wowed me even more. They bring together all these ingredients and make the music as fresh as it is gripping. After a couple spins, I realized...why should I have been caught off guard in the first place? These musical tones always arrested my emotions in the past so where's this shock coming from? That denial aside, everything you loved about them come up for air quite often while still offering leeway to move forward into new pastures. And they do just that. Sure, I could blow steam off to their oldies but this really is the definitive Code Orange album which shows growth, huge steps forward and musical structures that make this present collection more symmetrical than their front—loaded works of records past. I Am King feels even and balanced — loudly and guttural. The flustered self—titled track and "Unclean Spirit" are examples of this — haunting, anxious and scary. Yet somehow beautiful. I guess if you have anger issues like me, you'd appreciate them more.

By the time it all sinks in, one thing stands out. Hardcore is an understatement in describing the album. The closers explain why. "Bind You" flowing into "Mercy" feels like you're wrapping your hands around your enemy's neck, staring him dead in the eye as he keels over. You've just struck the deathblow and that's when you open your eyes. You're breathing heavily and sweating. Your heartbeat's relentless. That's how much of an impact Code Orange wanted to, and do indeed make. These 11 tracks play on every ounce of rage you've ever known. Be afraid of them all. In the best way possible.