Young blood is vital to keeping any healthy genre alive, and metal is no exception. Though it's been a while since heavy music has reached the commercial heights of the 90s and early 2000s, the flow of exciting, vibrant, boundary-pushing young bands within the scene has never abated.
Back in 2017, Metal Hammer interviewed Slipknot/Lamb Of God frontmen Corey Taylor and Randy Blythe about the state of metal at the time, and they were quick to highlight one young band in particular that they believed represented the future of the scene.
"We were talking about Code Orange yesterday," Taylor revealed. "Watching them made me wanna play!”
“When I saw them, I was telling my band and a bunch of other people, ‘Don’t sleep on this shit. Get up early and see these guys’," added Blythe. "There was no one there watching them but they still brought it so fucking hard, and you can see that they mean it, which I haven’t seen for a while, you know? No one cares how technically proficient you are, how fast you can noodle, your outfits, whatever, nobody gives a fuck. If you mean it, that’s gonna translate, and those kids mean it.”
Code Orange had recently unleashed their critically acclaimed third studio album Forever, a propulsive, relentless barrage of metallic hardcore, industrial, punk and grunge, and were evidently making friends in high places. “Scott Ian told me about them," Corey explained, while Randy noted that he had first about them through Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta.
"I think that with guys like me, Corey and Scott Ian, when we look at a band like that and how hard they’re bringing it, it reminds us of when we started out," Randy mused. "And those kids are bringing it – I told my guys that they remind me of when we were playing warehouses in ‘94.”
Despite Code Orange receiving rabid praise both for their recorded output and their incendiary live gigs, Taylor was convinced that the best was yet to come.
"Now they’re on the verge of something that’s so them," he predicted excitedly. "Even though you can hear their influences, you can tell it’s them, and there’s no other band like them. I’ve never seen a band with so much talent that’s democratically spread out. It’s inspiring.”
When asked if a band like Code Orange might be too heavy to ever truly break it big, Blythe had an instant retort, taking one look at Taylor before replying:
"This is a 43 year old man, known for pure insanity in a mask with vomit and bile, and he can play huge places! If it can happen for us, it can happen for them.”
Three years later, Code Orange released Forever's follow-up in the shape of Underneath: an astonishing, genre-splicing masterpiece that earned a rare 10/10 review in Metal Hammer. While the pandemic prevented the Pittsburgh collective fully capitalising on the record, they stayed busy creating retina-singeing livestreams, collaborating with WWE and putting out a well-received live album, Under The Skin, later that year.
With a new album of original material expected at some point in the not too distant future (two new singles, Grooming My Replacement and The Game landed only this month), Code Orange will likely get their chance to push themselves to the next level soon. Six years on, perhaps Corey Taylor and Randy Blythe's faith will prove to be well placed.