When Code Orange announced they were doing 3 intimate shows alongside their run with Trivium, the UK hardcore scene went into a meltdown. A Grammy-nominated band playing 500 capacity venues across the country is unheard of. Not only that, when they announced Employed to Serve would be joining them one could only speculate and try to fathom the mayhem that was soon to come.
The time has arrived as Employed to Serve (8) take the stage. Instantly creating a spark that electrifies the venue. Lead vocalist Justine Jones utterly destroying the microphone with a voice so powerful it’s a wonder how her throat is able to contain the lyrics she screams. Incredible start to the show and by far the best support band for this tour.
However, it is time for the main event. A beacon of light pierces through the smoke machine fog which has accumulated like a thick dust in this dingy venue. Silhouettes appear on stage and the walking shadows pick up their instruments. Although you can’t see vocalist Jami Morgan through the mist, he certainly lets you know he is here as he belts out “You know who the fuck we are!” Wailing screeches from the guitars introduce us to the first song of the set “My World” The show has come to life. Guitarist Dominic Landolina hanging on from the lighting truss above the stage minutes into the show; A dispersing crowd forms a pit that spans across the room like the parting of the red sea. This is real, if there were to be a poster for a hardcore show then this would be it.
Blitzing through material like a wildfire consuming everything in its path. The roaring blaze simmers into a gentle flame as Reba Myres takes charge. “Bleeding in the Blur” begins and tames the beast that is Code Orange (10). Witnessing how this hardcore band can switch a violent performance into an enticing mesmeric display at a drop of a hat, with a melodic anthem is something I have never seen before.
The set returns to full steam once again then all of a sudden, distorted satanic vocals emit from the sound system and a surge of adrenaline courses through the veins. The words “When hands are caught in my brother’s pocket, I’ll burn my gods down.” forces its way into your ears. Traveling down into the brain causing a chemical reaction no drug can match. The venue erupts and the chaos unfolds on stage. Welcome to “Forever”. The self-titled single from the bands Grammy-nominated album causes a demonic reaction in the audience. An unrelenting wave of hardcore pummels you repeatedly; almost as if the beatdown is physically hitting you in the face over and over.
No stopping to talk to the audience just giving the crowd as much Code Orange as they can handle. The intensity that Code Orange are demonstrating is astonishing. Maintaining a performance of this high calibre is not only ludicrous but mesmerising. The show goes down a slower route now as Code Orange perform “Dream2”. A sinisterly luring song which changes the narrative of the whole set. The last note rings out and the band walks off stage and the show comes to an end. The future of the genre is theirs for the taking and by the looks of things, Code Orange are grasping it with both hands.
Words by Charlie Conibear
Photos by Dev Place