Metallic, pulverizing, but hometown, all accurate descriptions of Pittsburgh’s bruisers turned hardcore idols from the metal mills of Braddock to the center stage internationally. As Code Orange still erupts with fury from deep inside the hardcore outfit, 2014’s I Am King was a precursor into one of the greatest sagas of sound from the Steel City.
Those ominous atmospheric grinds from the opening self-titled track, “I Am King” where the plants of industry seem to sprawl out over a desolate landscape. Even within the first seconds, Code Orange seems to be within full control over the listener, forcing them to focus intently on the musician craftsmanship through blitzing percussion and unrefined strings. Absolute to the point of pure intensity, I Am King never shows a sign of mercy until the listener is already crushed under the weight of a thousand iron bars.
The Thinners of the Herd are at this point, no longer newcomers to metal but still show youth within their sound. The vocals from Jami Morgan will show a confliction when Code Orange touches upon the track “Dreams in Inertia,” where Eric Balderose and Reba Meyers are able to provide a cleaner, more approachable form of vocalization. In this adventurous turn for I Am King, “Dreams in Inertia” takes a step back from the consistent crushing and instead opts for a more drawn-out depiction of deception. As the faded consciousness of the track allows for the heavy, but almost indie-rock sound to flourish.
Then immediately after, the listener is thrown back into the pits of fire where “Unclean Spirit,” “Alone In A Room,” and “My World” can take the unprepared onlooker back through audio torture. “My World” is essential to highlight for its invoking ability within a crowd. To see bodies stacked on top of bodies that dive toward a concrete demise is striking, but also exhilarating every single time. The lyrics of “Stepped too far, now you’ve crossed the line. Now you are finally inside” as the crowd begins to shout from behind in this cult-esque chant, “My world, My World, My World…” which continues to grow louder and louder. The burst of energy that forms through Code Orange’s 32-minute onslaught is a reawakening through hardcore sound.
Till the brackets break and there is a king crowed, Code Orange fights through each mosh pit, ducking and diving to become a panther in the hardcore jungle. Watching the enemies fall as caskets pile up, I Am King turns the audience green with envy as a driving force behind the potential power.