Last week, Code Orange announced the follow up to 2017’s Grammy nominated Forever by dropping the first single from their upcoming fourth record, Underneath.
Understandably, the news has everyone counting down the days to the 13th March when we all get to find out just how a band can follow up one of the most lauded heavy records of the 21st century so far. Forever was far more than just an extremely good hardcore record, it showed that there was still plenty of room to explore within the genre, breaking down boundaries and incorporating elements of hip-hop, industrial, and ambient sounds into its arsenal. Moreover, it showed that a style of music which had remained more or less in the underground for the entirety of its existence might just have a shot at breaking out into the mainstream with the anthemic ‘Bleeding Into The Blur’. Along with the aforementioned Grammy nomination came a billboard slot in Times Square, a collaboration with Corey Taylor, and even the recording of a WWE entrance theme. A whole new reality has been opened up for the Pensylvannian quintet.
Now though, there is an expectation, but what makes this follow-up so interesting is Code Orange’s complete lack of interest in living up to it. Drummer Jami Morgan has made it clear in interviews that they are looking to even bigger things, but they will do so by doing things their own way and only their way.
This becomes even more apparent when hearing the title-track from Underneath. For the first two minutes or so there is barely a guitar in sight as dark synths and off-kilter beats create a suffocating atmosphere that is closer to trip-hop or the bleak ambience of Nine Inch Nails. There is a definite build and release motion to the track but those longing for the heavier side of Code Orange should be satisfied by the time Underneath reaches its conclusion.
If we’ve been taught anything by Code Orange, it is that guessing what they might do next is an entirely pointless endeavour. Although Underneath points towards a more electronic focus, the next song we hear from the record will probably veer into a completely different direction. Wherever they decided to take us next, we’re on-board for the ride. It’s going to be a long three months.