Published Sep 02, 2014Much of the discourse leading up to the looming beast I Am King focused on things that, in the grand scheme of things, really don't matter. From the dropping of the titular age group from their former name Code Orange Kids, to their cryptic promotional unveiling called "Thinners of the Herd," these were ultimately minutiae in the unfolding dialogue surrounding the budding metalcore crew.
When the music was revealed, it sparked hyperbole about the crushing cacophony. Or at least it seemed like hyperbole at first. This sophomore full-length channels the weirder parts of Zao and Vision of Disorder through the immediate impact of Disembodied, but as impressive as that wallop is, it's the moments of calm before (and during) the storm here that makes I Am King worthy of its crown.
Take the slow-build of "Starve," for example, which features haunting female vocals played against the usual yells, a juxtaposition that, like a boiling pot of water, bubbles up and simmers down before finally boiling over with the ominous ending riff that is heavy more in atmosphere than weight. Guitarist/vocalist Reba Meyers' singing makes a return in "Bind You," this time with triumph behind the gloom. The restraint shown throughout the album only enhances the frenetic nature of the title track, "Slowburn," "Unclean Spirit," My World" and their mosh-laden ilk.
"Dreams in Inertia," meanwhile, finds itself caught in a sludgy trap between shoegaze and grunge, further establishing the fact that Code Orange have both refined and expanded their sonic palette. (Deathwish Inc.)