2014 has been a year of Scary-Creepy Metal. Whether it’s Young and In The Way spraying pigs blood at a show, Trent Reznor composing spa music for a thriller, or Code Orange Kids shooting videos creepier than Tippie Hedren in a Maya Deren movie, metal has kept me on my toes the way the tri-tone opening riff of “Black Sabbath” did when I was 13.
One of the ways in which Code Orange Kids has excelled where some of their peers haven’t is the way that they have used technology as an aesthetic tool, rather than as a limitation. For example, the band has shot two absolutely horrifying videos for “Dreams in Inertia” and “I Am King,” which are pretty minimal in terms of production, design, etc – the former, reportedly even shot on VHS as well. But the videos are really emotionally powerful, on a gut level – the songs are creepy, and the imagery is creepy too.
I’ve heard some people point to apparent influences from 90’s alternative rock and grunge bands on the band, but I think their style runs a bit deeper. It’s not a production thing (although certainly having Deathwish behind them helps), but a clearly defined creative vision. You can gripe for days that you might find it contrived, but the bottom line is that like it or not, the band is doing something with gear that isn’t often done: they are using it to their advantage in service of their art.
They’re certainly continuing to use gear as a tool in ways I’ve not seen before. The band has just posted multi-cam VHS footage of their set from Los Globos in Los Angeles. If not for the dude in the Nails tee in the front row, would you be able to tell that this wasn’t the opening act for Mudhoney in 88?
Code Orange Kids’ new LP I Am King is out now on Deathwish, and it’s some dark stuff. Possibly recorded by Kurt Ballou on a 16-track in a basement somewhere in Salem.
Speaking of VHS, this Code Orange stuff reminds me of the Foo Fighters amazing video for “White Limo,” featuring Lemmy and also shot on VHS, in case you forgot…