Code Orange: 'We are influenced by many things but our main goal is to be the first us'
credit: Kimi Hanauer
The young US hardcore metal act are blazing a trail through the seriously heavy music scene
Code Orange have been building an unstoppable momentum. The Pennsylvania band's third album, Forever, is a bone-crunching pile-up of hardcore punk, metallic guitars and harsh electronics that judders to a close after 35 brutal minutes of shock therapy. An unrelenting mix of audio aggression and sonic complexity, only 'Bleeding in the Blur' offers a comparative oasis of calm with its clean vocals and grungy riffs.
People are talking about Code Orange with the same awe and excitement that reverberated when Slipknot, Dillinger Escape Plan or Gallows broke onto the scene. Forever earned them a Grammy nomination and Rolling Stone proclaimed it the Best Metal Album of 2017. 'It was what we wanted,' explains drummer and lead vocalist Jami Morgan down a scratchy phone-line from his home town of Pittsburgh. 'But at the same time, I don't want our band to hinge on other people's praise for our internal happiness or feeling of success.'
What's most impressive is their refusal to compromise in any shape or form. 'We never will,' Morgan insists. 'Anything we ever put to record will be 100% exactly what we want to do and will have nothing to do with how many fans we'll make. We just want to keep making the music we want to hear and I can swear to that.'
The band originally formed as Code Orange Kids at high school with Morgan and childhood friends Joe Goldman (bass) and Reba Meyers (vocals / guitar), while multi-instrumentalist Dominic Landolina is a new addition, bolstering their sound with synths, guitar and backing vocals. Their initial output was rooted in punk but has expanded to embrace industrial, metal and electronica. 'We're just a hardcore band who does whatever the fuck we want to do and paint a picture that can only be described as ours. For a lot of bands their main goal is to try to be like somebody else; we are influenced by many things but our main goal is to be the first us.'
They released their first album, on indie hardcore label Deathwish Inc (run by Jacob Bannon of Converge), when the average age in the band was just 18. 'I'm glad we started so young,' says Morgan. 'We've just been touring since the get-go and know the grind of this better than anybody. We've done 40 or 50 US tours, and a bunch of tours in the UK and Europe when nobody knew who we were. We fought for every inch, practice our ass off and work hard. We're really grateful for where we are now but we want to take it a lot further.'
Their live shows are renowned for their power and fury, a sometimes literal mix of blood, sweat and tears. Such total commitment has resulted in Code Orange opening for Terror, System of a Down, Deftones and Killswitch Engage, while they return now for their biggest UK dates, alongside thrash metallers Trivium as part of a devastating touring package. 'One of the greatest things about headlining a tour is picking the bands to round out the bill,' add Trivium. 'Code Orange, Power Trip and Venom Prison are not only the leading edge of the next wave of great metal acts, they are also three of our personal favourites.'
Like a ravenous shark prowling the ocean depths, Code Orange are always moving forward. 'We're always working and haven't taken a week off ever, so there will be new stuff sooner rather than later. We're going to take it to the next level, and we hope everyone is ready for it.'
Code Orange play with Trivium, Power Trip and Venom Prison, O2 Academy, Glasgow, Thu 19 Apr.