Review Summary: Hardcore punk and sludge metal combine nicely in just over 9 minutes.
Recently, a lot of bands have been combining hardcore punk with extreme metal genres to make a distorted and distinct sound. Nails went ahead and blended hardcore punk and grindcore, and with Full Of Hell, noise rock and even black metal were added to the concoction. But for Code Orange Kids, the genre they chose to marry with hardcore punk was sludge metal, and what a wedding it turned out to be.
Code Orange Kids trudge and yell their way through five songs, four of which clock in at just over a minute long. What surprises me is how much variation they can fit in a minute. A lot of the time is spent with really muddy riffs, but they can also play frenzied hardcore licks, and even manage to fit in a couple of blast beats. That is what is so interesting about Code Orange Kids, how they can seamlessly flow from one extremity to the next, from fast-paced hardcore punk to murky sludge metal. They also find time to put in a nice melodic interlude on the EP in the form of "Salvage Fold".
The vocalists, who all play their own instruments as well, are extremely emotional and engaging, and the lyrics are mournful while retaining their anger as well. Take these lines from album closer "Take (The Soil Is Calling)" for instance:
"Surrender to the air. Let the sky bare this soul free and bright, like a lodestar leading to the sun. Warming from both sides, nothing like these killing arms that suffocate true desire."
"The endless cycle of give and take, the careful words we have the guts to say. The unfulfillment that has numbed my insides and sealed my fate."
It's hard to ignore how much substance they manage to fit into such a small running time, but the albums length prevents it from being as gripping as a full length album would be. But that does not mean you should pass this album over. It is a great sampler, something you should hear to acquaint yourself with the bands' style before moving on to a longer album in their discography.
It is evident that Code Orange Kids carve their own niche on this EP, and with a digestible 9-minute length, it shouldn't be overlooked by those who want an interesting spin on hardcore punk.