By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
This year at the Grammys, it was a significant year for hard rock and heavy metal. Different bands comprised of different genres, were nominated for all the rock categories. Of course, somehow, the Grammy judges still ended up screwing them over. However, it is still a huge deal for us because they took notice of these groups’ artistic abilities and impact on music. One band that stood out the most, was Code Orange. A band from Pittsburgh, Penn., Code Orange has divided into all kinds of heavy rock, from metalcore to metallic hardcore. Their nomination for Best Metal Performance marked one of the first major leaps for the hardcore scene. It was a genre, that has almost been ignored until the release of the critically acclaimed, Forever. So how do they celebrate? Simple, by headlining an intense show, with other hardcore acts at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, Calif. Hosted by Metal Ambassador Jose Mangin, who also filmed the performance, to be aired on Liquid Metal, this was a concert where fans headed home with bruised bodies and sore necks, after having one helluva time listening to some great metal.
First up to intensify the fans, was Mizery. This San Diego quintet took over the Constellation Room with sheer force. Frontman Jose Gonzales is a powerful screamer, who knows how to stir the crowd up, roaring to songs like “Absolute Light,” “Casualty of Love,” and “Last Wishes.” The stand-out stars in the group, were the twin guitar soldiers, Taylor Parker and Anthony Quiroz. Parker pulled out some heavy-duty solos, that were high-speed and extreme. Bassist Mike Salazar and drummer Cayle Sain cruised and bruised the melodies with drive. They ended their performance with “The Hard Goodbye,” which I thought was appropriate, since I was left wanting more. Mizery certainly brought the “hard” in hardcore that night.
Full Mizery slideshow below:
God’s Hate immediately followed, and they ravaged their set list. It is a strong name that truly fits their style hardcore smashing. Vocalist Brody King, is a powerful figure on stage, who just gets in your face with his awesome screams. This performance marked the first appearance of lead guitarist Alec Faber, who was a shredder up there, along with rhythm guitarist Colin Young. By the way Faber was playing their songs, he definitely fits in with God’s Hate. Mizery drummer Cayle Sain also premiered with them for the first time, and crushed it behind the kit. Bassist Anthony Gonzalez tears into the songs with his hard-hitting beats. Their extreme songs dealt with society, politics, and other topics that are usually on our minds. With tunes like “Divine Injustice,” “Extermination,” “Social Class Warfare,” and “Father Inferior,” God’s Hate held nothing back all night. They kicked some major ass.
Full Gods Hate slideshow below:
Fury was up next, and boy did they bring a lot of fury to the tiny room we were in. In the driver’s seat was vocalist Jeremy Smith, who laid siege to the crowd with his mighty yells. Cry havoc every time a new lyric comes out of his mouth. Madison Woodward and Alfredo Gutierrez licked it up beautifully on the frets, with Woodward wailing it on the lead riffs. Bassist Danny Samayoa and drummer Alec Samayoa cleaned house, by giving Fury hard punches in the rhythm section. They had an array of severe hardcore headbanging songs like “Thin Line,” “The Feeling,” “Reality Check,” and “In Extremis,” just to name a few. Just like Mizery and God’s Hate, fan intensity kicked up a notch, when Fury took to the mic. If there are any hungry hardcore bands that diehard hardcore fans would love follow, then I would say lend your ears to these guys. They will kick out all the softness in fans.
Full Fury slideshow below:
Finally, the moment we all had been waiting for, Code Orange stomped their way to the stage and into our souls. Introduced by the ecstatic Mangin, Code Orange went into overdrive and never slowed down for one second. What was really cool about them, was the triple guitar attack they provided, performed nicely by Reba Meyers, Eric Balderose, and Dominic Landolina. Balderose pulled triple duty with not only guitar, but also with singing and playing the synthesizer. Along with Meyers and drummer Jami Morgan, each raged on with powerful vocal works. Morgan and bassist Joe Goldman were rampaging machines, when giving the rhythm and melodies a metallic jolt. Their hardcore music can be described as a mix of metalcore, heavy metal, electronica, and industrial, along with other styles. Their approach to heavy metal has made them an act worth watching. They played mostly stuff from Forever, like the title track, “Kill the Creator,” “The Mud,” and “New Reality.”
The best song of the night was “Bleeding in the Blur,” which was sung beautifully by Meyers. Not only can she sing, but she can play a mean-ass guitar. She even hit the fans’ soft spots, with the mellower closing number, “dream2.” The fans were out of their minds when Code Orange hit the stage. They did not just mosh; they went into an anarchic frenzy. With fans stage diving, kicking in the air, and even tossing around a goddamn garbage bin, the room turned into an insane asylum. There was so much love and passion in the room. Every inner metal monster was awakened, and drawn out on to the floor, to romp as they may.
Full Code Orange slideshow below:
Hair out of place, feet and toes sore, and body banged up. Nothing could ever prepare Matt and I for such an aggressive show. Code Orange’s performance makes the Wage War show, at the Chain Reaction, look like a kindergarten pageant. No wonder they were nominated for a Grammy, they deserved it. We saw them once at Knotfest, but we got a better look them there that night. This is only the beginning for them, and the other bands that performed. May their hardcore thrashing continue on to bring them much success. To Code Orange, Fury, God’s Hate, and Mizery, I salute you. Horns up!!!