Artist Code Orange
Album I Am King
Year Released: 2 September 2014
Label Deathwish Genre Hardcore | Sludge | Metalcore
If there was ever a disturbing soundtrack to a peculiar cult initiation, I Am King would nail the hammer on the head, brand the insignia on your forehead, and leave you stranded. For most of the new album by Code Orange, it sludges around at a disconcerting pace, never really distinguishing itself without the creepy overtones making the album regrettably fun to continue to listen to.
As if walking out to the field to get initiated, and the doom surrounding the acceptance is ever present with the title track. The spoken word vocal approach by drummer Jami Morgan is haunting, especially with the noise and dissonant heavy chords being strung out in the background. When needed, the band can spark into a great mosh riff with ease, but focus this song, and a lot of the following songs on this frightening dissonance. “I Am King, I Am King, I Am King,” followed by a distraught breakdown. The record is heavy, being intense and yet submissive at the same time.
“Unclean Spirit” speeds and creeps through multiple genres in its 2:49 length. Breakneck grind features fall into a hardcore trance breakdown before being doused in tar and then pulsing with sludge. “Starve” really does everything opposite to the title track, feeding the listener with heavy guitars and a captivating beat to headbang along with. “Your Body Is Ready” is one of the better pieces on this LP, drawing the listener in with familiar breakneck riffs with unpredictable stops featuring unsavory crawling synth notes to go along with it.
Code Orange makes sure to end the album with as much disgust as possible. “Your Body Is Ready” and “Thinners Of The Herd” are some of the best tracks across the record. “Mercy” features everything to love about this band in one song. Heavy breakdowns, slime infested riffs, and intriguing vocals put this entire project together. The track comes to a halt about halfway through with “Kill. Kill. Kill,” being repeated, sounding absolutely necessary.
I Am King is a return to form for Code Orange. To me and my ears, the confusing pace and disgruntling spirit of the album makes sense. To others, it might deter them away from the band altogether. It has taken three full weeks to try to grasp the brutality of this LP, proving it might be a late sleeper in the year for lists across press magazines.