Album Review: Code Orange – ‘Underneath’

By Dom Smith
By March 10, 2020 Album, Reviews

There are a fair few incredible bands that have transcended heavy music and made it into popular culture – from films, to games and even across genres into the realms of hip-hop and pop music – Marilyn Manson, Korn, Slipknot and Deftones come to mind, to name but a few. These types of acts have changed people’s lives, helped mental health and inspired millions to do great things creatively, personally and professionally. In my opinion, it is time to add Code Orange to that list.

The Pittsburgh, PA five-piece have (and will continue to) confront our demons, inspire people to pick up guitars (and/or synthesisers) and fundamentally, bring people from all walks of life and backgrounds together within the live arena for a bloody good mosh. Indeed, work with Injury Reserve (and JPEGMAFIA) as well as the WWE for example in recent years has helped the band find new level of popularity in the mainstream.


Lord knows, we don’t even really do that many album reviews now on Soundsphere because of time constraints ‘n’ other such bollocks. So, why Code Orange’s ‘Underneath’? Well, from the moody opening tones of ‘(deeperthanbefore)’ and the line that runs through it: ‘Let’s take a good look at you’, we are absolutely, passionately hooked, and we know that this record will command numerous repeat listens.

Other than the cracking album singles, highlights proper include the bruising powerhouse ‘You and You Alone’, alongside the anthemic, driving ‘The Easy Way’ but, to be fair the whole thing is a masterpiece in modern heavy music, really. Other hidden gems here include ‘A Silver’ and ‘Autumn and Carbine’.

There have been a tonne of comparisons in this review so far, I am aware – still, I want people to understand how vital this album could be in genre-bending record collections for years to come, and I also would like our readers (thank you…) to understand the importance of a body of work that through its intensity, challenges people to examine themselves, confront their shit and overcome adversity in one way or another. We might feel alone sometimes, and we might need to take a good look at ourselves personally, and as a wider society, and the things we have done – warts and all – but music like this, and bands like Code Orange can be the soundtrack to self-awareness, revival and redemption.

To summarise then, this is industrial that injects the venom and vitriol of NIN’s ‘The Fragile’, it is metal with the same ferocity and vibrance of Slipknot’s ‘Iowa’, Lamb Of God’s ‘Sacrament’ or Korn’s ‘Follow The Leader’, and it harks back to the brutal hardcore of the band’s early days and the ‘I Am King’ record.

‘Underneath’ is an instant classic, and Code Orange should absolutely revel in it.

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