Review Summary: I HAVE NEVER FELT AS EMPTY AS I FEEL TODAY - Code Orange Kids deliver a crushing, varied, and emotional attack on our ears.
In recent years, the American hardcore scene has been exploding, bands have been experimenting with everything from post-rock to death metal. In light of this new wave of hardcore, we've seen a lot of bands that really can't be classified with the lazy, simple label of "hardcore." Enter Code Orange Kids, Pittsburg band, and considered to be a front runner of this new wave of hardcore-based music. After having released a demo, two extended plays, and a split with Full of Hell, the band released their debut album, "Love Is Love // Return to Dust." On this album they showed more ambition and that they have a lot more to offer than their counterparts. In Code Orange's case, I really think it starts with maturity.
The opening track, "Flowermouth (The Leech)" builds tension with shrieked vocals and a heavy bass line, and an absolute ripper of a guitar tone which would stay constant throughout most of the album. The lyrics reflect the music, dark and heavy. Lyrical themes include self-hatred, loss, love, and other heavy topics of the darker side of the human race. This is a very angsty band, not in the way of a Bring Me the Horizon or a Korn, but in a "so maybe instead I'll choke on these anti-anxiety pills so I don't have to swallow the flavor of life floating away" kind of way. On this album, the band truly proves they are most certainly not a one trick pony. On the forth track, "Liars // Trudge", we see the band executing a punishingly heavy, thick, sludgy breakdown which then seamlessly fades into a clean toned riff and a soft, ominous clean vocal delivery from Co-Guitarist and Co-Lead Vocalist, Reba Myers. This track then leads into what is personally my favorite on the album "Colors (Into Nothing)" which is something of a post-rock tune and is beautifully executed to say the least. The dreamy instrumentation drowns out but doesn't cover up and the delicate, soothing vocal delivery. "Colors (Into Nothing)" and half of "Liars // Trudge" are the only tracks on the album that showcase the more delicate, dulcet side of the band, yet they are some of the most memorable. Code Orange's violent side builds up again on the next track "Nothing (The Rat)", and the violent feel continues on to the of the record. The sludge metal influence on this album is extremely well executed and adds to the heavy feel of emotion and anguish this group likes to create. The final track, "Bloom (Return To Dust)" we see the band embarking in their longest song on the album, clocking in at five minutes and twenty one seconds. The band builds up the feel of this track in sludge metal style, delivering a heavy, monumental riff, that can only be described by the ever so cliché "Epic". The track fades away at the end with the chant "LOVE IS LOVE, RETURN TO DUST" In an anthemic fashion.
To Summarize, in this album's twenty seven minute runtime, we get the raw emotion of four kids pouring their hearts out, delivering a varied approach that will make you feel one moment and want to smash someone's face in the next. Rarely can a band find such a perfect balance between abrasive and atmospheric, much less on their first album. Fantastic debut. 4/5.