Saturday, 20 February 2016

Alphabetical Discovery - Week C, Day One: Code

Code are a band from England formed in 2002. I write that in the most minimalist way possible because its is near impossible to accurately categorise their sound, yet I suppose I should try. A progressive black metal sensibility is the fundamental driving force of their early output but their albums warp and modify sometimes beyond the realms of metal, leading to the expansive melancholy of their current post-rock output. 'Experimental' is a tag stuck on to bands that are often hard to pin down or define but Code, I'd say, are a band who actively experiment and try to develop their sound from album to album.

In Code's DNA are touches of straight-forward black-metal - particularly in their first two albums: 2005's Nouveau Gloaming and 2009's Resplendent Grotesque - alongside an expansive progressive and melodic sound akin to more recent Enslaved and Borknagar; beyond this songs regularly reach must vaster and unpredictable dimensions - unorthodox and stylistically similar to Scandinavian experimenters Arcturus, Solefald and Diabolical Masquerade. There is also a particular quirky Englishness - especially from third album Augur Nox onwards (with new vocalist Wacian) - comparable to the Triple-A attack of Akercocke, A Forest Of Stars and Anathema . Despite my blatant attempt at deciphering their sound through comparisons with a hotchpotch of other extreme-metal bands, there is a much wider essence and diversity to Code's music that reaches far beyond metal. 

Code's smooth transition into more alien territories began with their third album Augur Nox, an album that bridged the gap between two soundsThe Surrey band's most recent album - 2015's Mut - paints on a much wider canvas, exploring post-rock and progressive soundscapes with their idiosyncratic approach to song-writing and atmosphere. A much more reflective and melancholy sound makes up the core of the album and their change of direction draws similarities with Anathema's excellently executed transition from doom through to their alternative sound. Mut is an incredibly interesting and nuanced progressive album that draws more similarities with Porcupine Tree and Soen. You can tell that a lot of thought and a lot of hours has gone in to each sound, transition and effect in Code's music; they are a richly textured and diverse band that will kick-start even the blandest of imaginations. 

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