Avant-black metallers Code turn up the flames on their brilliant new EP

Code promo pic 2017

A band who have straddled stampeding black metal and the avant-garde for a decade and a half, Code’s history has proved as serpentine as the music itself. Guitarist Aort may be the last remaining original member – original frontman Kvohst, aka Mat Mcnerney having gone on to form Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures, and bassist Viper returning to Dødheimsgard in his guise as Vicotnik – but the band’s roving, detour-taking aesthetic has remained intact.

The band might have moved away from black metal with 2015’s beguiling Mut album, but clearly Code are prone to seasonal fluctuations. Their Lost Signal EP earlier this year saw some fierceness creeping back, but their forthcoming four-track, Under The Subgleam, due for release on November 3 via Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings sees them returning to the raving, visionary savagery of their early albums. Touching on Shining (Swe’s) Brecht-with-a-bulldozer rants, is still suffused with Code’s own hallucinatory style, not least due to the versatile vocals of frontman Wacian.

If you want to experience Under The Subgleam’s 12 minutes of time and space-defying extreme metal early, your blood sacrifices have been answered, because we’re streaming the EP in all its bewildering glory, ominous into of tolling bell and all. So say goodbye to your bearings, enter the turbulent world of Code below and scroll down further for an interview with Aort on the new EP!

Particularly after Mut moved away from extreme metal Under The Subgleam is the heaviest release Code have put out for a while. What prompted the shift of emphasis this time around?

Aort: “We have always followed what inherently feels right at any moment in time. This isn’t from an external expectation point of view, but what feels right in the context of what we want to do artistically. Mut was quite possibly the most artistically rewarding album for us personally, but we felt the need after that, to return to the roots of Code and re-visit the oblique darkness that we enjoy creating so much. After striving for the heights with Mut, it was time to wallow in the depths with Under the Subgleam.”

In classic Code fashion, there’s a very roving quality to the EP, but was there a narrative or overarching concept that binds the tracks, tolling bells and all?

“There is a narrative in terms of tone and feel for sure. The intro is designed to set the tone and to build tension for when the music starts proper. This release perhaps more than any other we have done before is focused more on tone than on particular musical movements. Under The Subgleam is all about heightened tension, aggression and darkness.”

How did your move to New Zealand have an effect on the band, both in terms of collaborating remotely and having a new environment to bring to bear on the band and your writing?

“The main impact has been on our ability to perform live as chances to do so are now more few and far-between. In terms of writing, the move hasn’t had a great impact as I always write the music in isolation and then send the demos round to the guys to work on their parts. Parts of the recording for this EP were completed when I was back in the UK for a few weeks last winter so in terms of recording, it is still the collaborative exercise it always has been.”

Check out Code’s Facebook page here

And pre-order Under The Subgleam here (opens in new tab)!

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.