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Rating: 7/10

By Luigi Sibona

Code Orange (or the artists formerly known as Code Orange Kids) return with their eclectic brand of alt-metalcore with ‘Forever’, their third studio album and first for famed metal label, Roadrunner. Produced by the legendary Kurt Ballou of Converge, ‘Forever’ sounds suitably crunchy. In the fashion of their sophomore effort, ‘I Am King’, we kick things off with the title track designed to get the blood pumping.

The blast-beat and breakdown heavy second track, ‘Kill The Creator’, starts to show off the bands passion for jarring tonal U-turns and messy cuts. Followed straight up by the abrasive and self-serious ‘Real’, Code Orange’s machismo heavy posturing makes itself apparent in the howled line “this is real now… motherfucker”. Granted, it’s followed by a killer breakdown that makes you want to head-butt someone but there’s no getting away from the adolescent cringe-factor of that line.

The sharing of vocal duties across the band shines as a great asset in one of the record’s lead singles, ‘Bleeding In The Blur’. Lead by Reba Meyers providing some rare clean vocals we’re treated with an unapologetically catchy rock track, the distorted riffs and central hook taking more from 90s alt-rock and indie that the bands obvious hardcore punk roots. It’s a really great tune and a welcome change of pace. ‘Forever’ is certainly an album that wants to keep you guessing.

With deeper cuts like ‘The New Reality’ there are definite notes of nu-metal mixed into the violence of the grinding mix. Ending on the ambient, near-experimental ‘dream2’ we get more cleans and an abrupt cut-out full stop to the album.

Make no mistake this is humourless art kid hardcore but I’m not meaning to be as derisive as that sounds. There is smart, diverse and scalding song-writing to be had here, it’s just all done with a dead straight face and a puffed-up, ‘yeah, fight me’ attitude.