Pittsburgh’s Code Orange does not care about rules. They don’t care about genre definitions, expectations or limits of any kind. The band has been redefining hardcore music from the ground up since their inception, and on their third album, Forever, they show no signs of stopping.
Forever is as beautifully brutal as the band has ever been, while throwing in signature twists and turns that have catapulted them to their current spotlight. Drummer and vocalist Jami Morgan said the band’s latest album is different and highlighted their upcoming promotional tour that hits Detroit on January 17, 2017 at El Club.
“There’s all these textual layers and soundscapes, and there’s super hard-hitting stuff and there’s stuff that’s super dynamic,” Morgan said. “I felt like all these different forms of art on the album cover represented all those worlds coming together; kind of saying there are no rules.”
The album is boundless, at once tapping into what can be expected of Code Orange while reaching farther than the band has gone before. With grunge-pop curveballs like “Bleeding in the Blur” and the snarling shoegaze on “Ugly,” Forever is an engulfing album and a captivating listen from the start.
The tour lineup is as dynamic as the album.
“There’s different bands on the whole tour, and it’s super diverse and that’s how I wanted it to be,” Morgan said.
The Detroit date will feature Youth Code, an electronic duo reminiscent of Crystal Castles with harsher vocals, in direct support. Additional support comes from Lifeless, a heavy-hitting hardcore group that utilizes lightning fast rhythms.
Code Orange’s live performances are evolving just as much as the band’s songwriting.
“For this tour our guitarist kind of made a whole album’s worth of music, original music, that is like weird samples. It’s really well put together,” Morgan said. “It’s like a mixture of everything from soundtracking music, to weird industrial music, to just noise music, and it’s playing between all the bands at the show.”
The band is reinventing what can be expected of their performances, while amplifying their uniquely brooding aesthetic. Code Orange is unapologetically taking power over their own expression, keeping their sound and performance fresh while sticking with their thematic status quo.
“I think the last record (I Am King) we did was very much about kind of coming into your own, and being better than who you think you are,” Morgan said. “I think this record very much well deals with that, dealing with backlash from other people to what you’re doing, and at the same time, kind of just learning how to deal with pain and internal struggle on top of that.”
Jumping off I Am King, Code Orange deliberately jumped between different aspects of metal — creating a new way of performing.
“We’re kind of setting off and doing our own little DIY version — our version of performance art… making art and blending it with this straightforward, punch in the jaw, painful, hardcore metal music, kind of blurring those lines a little bit more, in our own way.”
Code Orange keeps their music relevant by putting tremendous effort into keeping their followers on their toes.
“I’m literally constantly thinking about this stuff 24/7 and it’s almost like until we finish a record, it’s like an unfinished puzzle and all the pieces are mixed up,” Morgan said. “We knew what we wanted to accomplish, but at the same time it’s hard to get there sometimes. It’s very rewarding.”
As stated in an interview with Rolling Stone, it’s a painful process putting these pieces together, but Forever proves to be a rewarding result.
The show in Detroit will be an opportunity to see Code Orange unleash one of their most diverse sets to date at the stunningly intimate El Club, and it’s the perfect place for metal fans and newcomers alike to experience one of the most prominent bands bringing daring change to metal’s sphere of music.