Album Review: Code Orange – The Above

By Jay Mitchell
By September 30, 2023 Album, Reviews

Code Orange have never been afraid of pushing boundaries and on their latest album The Above things are no different. While they haven’t completely lost that hardcore rawness they became known for, The Above takes things to a whole new level exploring sounds the band haven’t ever touched.

‘Never Far Apart’ has everything from melodic metal to industrial metal and of course elements of their classic hardcore sound. With a constant changing pace, the track features a huge breakdown which is signature Code Orange. The experiments continue into ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ with Jami Morgan singing the verses cleanly before unleashing a series of screams.

‘Take Shape’ has a feature from Billy Corgan and a chorus which is sure to stick with you. It is the most Code Orange sounding track on the album, and it’s no surprise it’s taken off since releasing as a single. ‘The Mask Of Sanity Slips’ has a crushing intro, and that energy doesn’t go anywhere throughout the song. Just four tracks in and they’ve already blurred the genre boundaries.

‘Mirror’ is a slow track that is sandwiched in between ‘The Mask Of Sanity Slips’ and ‘A Drone Opting Out Of The Hive’ both of which are full hardcore bangers, whereas ‘Mirrors’ just falls flat. ‘I Fly’ has an element of Korn with Morgan channelling Jonathan David throughout the track, also featuring another ridiculously heavy breakdown after a slow bridge where the transition works perfectly.

‘The Game’ and ‘Grooming My Replacement’ were the first two tracks released off The Above back in June and might be the heaviest two tracks on the album. With the two tracks almost fitting together as one song, combined they’re sure to blow you away for six minutes.

After ten tracks that consistently tear your eardrums to shreds your left with four songs that just don’t reach the heights of the first ten. ‘Snapshot’ is filled with electronic sounds while ‘Circle Through’ sounds like the bands attempt of 90’s grunge. ‘But A Dream’ lacks in the verses but has a massive chorus which salvages the song.

With the last track on the album being the title track I was hoping for more than what I got. Building up for two and a half minutes, the track doesn’t hit you with a breakdown of any sort or anything remotely close to the first half of the album. Some heavier tones do come in but it’s far from the ripping hardcore sounds on the first 10 tracks.

Continuing to experiment and push boundaries, The Above manages to tick most boxes. For large parts, Code Orange give you everything you could want with bone crushing riffs, gigantic breakdowns and blazing vocals, however the ending of the album just leaves you wanting a bit more. Going out with a slight pop rather than a bang, Code Orange are probably victims of their own success with expectations being so high. That being said The Above is still a statement of intent and shows the band continuing to innovate to the highest level, pushing themselves to places most other bands won’t go to.