I Am King
With the puerile suffix of ‘Kids’ scrapped from their name, and with an average age that finally exceeds the teens, it could be inferred that Pittsburgh punks Code Orange are coming of age. Their balls have dropped, and so has their latest album, ‘I Am King’. Whether this attempt at maturity leads to a sonic improvement, however, is up for debate, after all, hardcore and punk has forever been forged out of an ethos of anarchic youth.
The truth is though, that the band’s sound has always been mature. Under their previous moniker, their debut ‘Love is Love// Return to Dust’ was a record full of progressions from light to dark to even darker. This is a band unafraid to plumb the depths of their genre to create a truly breathtaking sound.
Same goes for ‘I Am King’, with its eerie hushes, tasty sludge riffs and algebraic song structures, full of weird and wonderful fidgety intermissions. As well as taking obvious influence from classic hardcore punk bands like Converge (whose guitarist Kurt Ballou produced ‘I Am King’), elements of low-slung Seattle grunge seep through on tracks like ‘Dreams of Inertia’. But the band still have time for a blast-beat tantrum every so often. And these heavy moments are much more grandiose than on their debut; maybe this is where the added maturity has started to show. At the same time, though, it could also be their downfall; we’ve heard sludge records like this before.
Regardless, this is a band that is developing with all the bold inquisition of a young child. It will be nice to see them grow further.