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CODE

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Multi-National


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CODE is a Norwegian/ English experimental black metal act formed in 2002. The core of the band consists of Kvohst (Mathew McNerney) on vocals, Aort (Andy McIvor) on guitars and Viper (Yusaf "Vicotnik" Parvez) on bass and backing vocals. With guitarist Vyttra and drummer AiwarikiaR (Erik O. Lancelot) the band released the "Neurotransmissions" demo in March 2002. The debut full-length studio album "Nouveau Gloaming" followed in 2005. Kvohst, Vyttra and AiwarikiaR left CODE sometime in 2006. Kvohst would provide vocals to the 2007 "Supervillain Outcast" album by DØDHEIMSGARD. A band Viper is also a member of. Kvohst would return to CODE in 2008 and the three core members recruited session drummer Adrian Erlandsson ( CRADLE OF FILTH, THE HAUNTED, AT THE GATES...etc.) and recorded their second full-length studio album "Resplendent Grotesque". "Resplendent Grotesque" was released through Tabo Recordings on the 1st of June 2009.

CODE´s inclusion in the Prog Archives database was approved by the Progressive Metal Team.

( Biography written by UMUR)

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CODE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CODE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 7 ratings
Nouveau Gloaming
2005
4.32 | 12 ratings
Resplendent Grotesque
2009
3.85 | 7 ratings
Augur Nox
2013
4.04 | 5 ratings
Mut
2015

CODE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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4.00 | 1 ratings
Neurotransmissions
2002

CODE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mut by CODE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.04 | 5 ratings

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Mut
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Mut" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian/UK act Code. The album was released through Agonia Records in February 2015. "Augur Nox (2013)" was more or less a new beginning for the band as only founding member/main composer/guitarist Aort remains from the lineups who recorded the first two albums. Stylistically "Augur Nox (2013)" was still relatively similar in style to the two predecessors though, which meant a semi-progressive black metal style featuring both raspy and clean vocals. Listening to "Mut" it's safe to say that Code has taken a left turn...

...as they now play a dark progressive post rock style with no black metal leanings other than the bleak depressive atmosphere. To my ears it sounds like the bastard child of Virus and Anekdoten sprinkled with a twist of Hail Spirit Noir. The raspy black metal style vocals are now completely gone from the band's music, and lead vocalist Wacian solely performs his haunted clean vocals. The only exception is a short aggressive vocal part in "Affliction". As mentioned the atmosphere is bleak and the whole thing comes off as slightly abstract. Dissonant open chords, mellotron, a raw organic sound, soaring melancholic vocal melodies, and great dynamic playing. It's quite heavy at times, but not in a "metal" fashion, but more in the vein of heavy progressive rock like Anekdoten and Landberk (King Crimson could be mentioned as a reference too). At other times it's pretty mellow and beautiful (the mellotron is a great touch). Tracks like "Dialogue" and "Affliction" also features some rather dramatic sections, so all in all the music is dynamically varied.

While the material on the 9 track, 35:44 minutes long album is arguably progressive in nature, the tracks aren't especially long, and the song structures aren't overtly complex. It's still quite innovative and adventurous music though, and a surprise is always lurking around the corner. Upon conclusion it's a very interesting development of sound that Code has made on "Mut". All three preceeding releases are also high quality albums, but there's something a bit more special about this one. If you enjoy any of the above mentioned artists, "Mut" is definitely a recommendable release, and quality wise it's top notch release too, featuring high level musicianship, a well sounding organic production, and intriguing songwriting. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

 Resplendent Grotesque by CODE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.32 | 12 ratings

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Resplendent Grotesque
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Resplendent Grotesque" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian/English black metal act Code. The album was released through Tabu Recordings in June 2009. In the years between the band's debut full-length studio album "Nouveau Gloaming (2005)" and "Resplendent Grotesque", lead vocalist Kvohst and bassist Viper (aka Vicotnik) busied themselves with the recording of D'dheimsgard's 4th full-length studio album "Supervillain Outcast (2007)".

...and there are many similarities between the two projects. Most prominently the distinct sounding lead vocals by Kvohst. His aggressive raspy vocals are caustic as ever, but it's his soaring clean vocals and vocal melodies that stand out the most. Another thing the two projects have in common are the elegant use of dissonance in their music. The music on "Resplendent Grotesque" is not quite as progressive nor is it as adventurous as the music on "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" though. The music on "Resplendent Grotesque" is relatively simple in structure even though the band often incorporate the odd progressive section to keep things interesting. It is Kvohst's vocals and strong voice, that makes all the difference here though. He is such a skilled and distinct sounding vocalist.

The band are very well playing and the powerful and clear sound production suits the music well. While the tracks are well composed it's only a few that really stand out and about half of the tracks on the album could have been a bit more memorable. They are still great tracks, but I just feel they could have been better. Some of the tracks that stand out are "Smother the Crones", "In the Privacy of Your Own Bones", "The Rattle of Black Teeth" and "Jesus Fever". While "Resplendent Grotesque" isn't a consistently excellent release, it's still a high quality album for fans of the more twisted and slightly progressive part of the black metal spectrum (acts like Void, Ved Buens Ende and especially D'dheimsgard come to mind) and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fully deserved.

 Augur Nox by CODE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.85 | 7 ratings

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Augur Nox
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Augur Nox" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Norwegian/English black metal act Code. The album was released through Agonia Records in November 2013. Quite a few lineup changes have taken place since the release of "Resplendent Grotesque (2009)". It´s actually only founding member/main composer/guitarist Aort who are left in the lineup. Lead vocalist Kvohst has left to concentrate on his dark neofolk act Hexvessel and bassist Viper (aka Vicotnik) has left to once again concentrate on Dødheimsgard. Code always seemed more like a project act than a "real" band, but on "Augur Nox" it seems that Aort has assembled what appears to be a permanent lineup with two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a new lead vocalist in Wacian.

Despite the many lineup changes, the music on "Augur Nox" is unmistakably the sound of Code. The dark atmosphere and subtle use of dissonances, the raspy extreme metal vocals, the clean vocals, and the relatively adventurous progressive song structures are all present and accounted for. I think there´s been a slight change in the riffing department though and I suddenly count Enslaved among the musical references (listen to the opening riff in "Garden Chancery" for proof of that), which is an influence I didn´t hear on the two predecessors. There´s something about the drumming style that leads my thoughts in that direction too. Code is not a poor man´s Enslaved by any means though. They have by now forged their own sound and identity. The material on the album is generally very well written and sound inspired. The longer and most progressive tracks like "The Lazarus Cord" and "Harmonies in Cloud" are high quality material packed with great ideas, but that can be said about all tracks on "Augur Nox" (long or short).

While Kvohst is probably one of the most prolific and unique vocalists in extreme metal and therefore always would be difficult to replace, new lead vocalist Wacian actually gives Kvohst a run for his money. Wacian´s clean vocals might not be as unique sounding as Kvohst´s ditto, but they suit the music on "Augur Nox" well and he is both a skilled and passionate vocalist. His raspy black metal styled vocals are fully on par with his predecessor´s and the change on the vocalist spot has actually happened more seamlessly than I had imagined it would.

The sound production is professional, powerful, and clear. The band obviously aim at creating a dark atmosphere, but not at the expence of a professional sound production. "Augur Nox" is a high quality release and a great continuation of Code´s career, which wasn´t necessarily in the cards, when you take into consideration the profiles who have left since the predecessor and a 4 star (80%) rating is well deserved.

 Resplendent Grotesque by CODE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.32 | 12 ratings

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Resplendent Grotesque
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars Well, this one took a while to actually click with me. But hell, it did, big time. Huge time. Mega explosion time.

What we have here is a band based both in England and Norway. It is a sort avant-black metal supergroup, with people from Dodheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende, and with such former members such as the singer in Arcturus. But to be honest, he's not really missed. Because Kvohst is here! Kvohst, British Black Metal singer, who was in Dodheimsgard for starters in their fantastic album "Supervillain Outcast"- really truly blows this out of the water. And I mean really. He displays here a fantastic range, a range I didn't hear from him before- and really does make the album for me. That is, not to say the music in itself isn't good- but with Kvohst the music truly meshes into something quite incredible in this album- some of the most memorable, beautiful, and simply catchy melodies that this album dishes out. It is Kvohst that serves it so nicely that I can't imagine the album without him.

So what do we have here? This is music firmly planted in the black metal school, and while I won't say that this album is insanely eclectic, it offers at times extremely powerful riffs and at other times some really interesting chord progressions and songwriting. But again, it's truly Kvohst's vocals that bring it all together. He will usually will go through banshee vocals to growling and finally to this croon, which bizarrely enough can at times remind of Morrisey. This does bring a very different element, a more melodic, though at the same times still very distilling. Kvohst usually also adds vocal harmonies to the recording and the sound is so full and well done that it can get quite beautiful. I feel as if the first song "Smother the Crones" is really a song that shows off the bands sound the best. A huge blasting beginning, impressive banshee vocals, and lastly, an absolutely epic chorus which wins me over with Kvohst's vocals.

With that, may I add that Vicotnik's bass is just superb. Usually he displays these fluid melodic bass lines that are a joy by themselves. But seriously the musicianship here is fantastic all around.

I find I want to keep this one short. Absolute must if you're a fan of the avant-black metal scene, but also perhaps worth checking out even if you're not, as the powerful melodies may win you over.

 Nouveau Gloaming by CODE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.12 | 7 ratings

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Nouveau Gloaming
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Nouveau Gloaming" is the debut full-length studio album by multinational experimental black metal act Code. "Nouveau Gloaming" was released through Spikefarm Records in June 2005. In addition to the "regular" CD version the album has also been released in two different vinyl formats/versions. One limited to 250 copies and another limited to 50 handnumbered copies.

The band features among others the prolific black metal musicians Kvohst (Mathew McNerney) on vocals (who has also been involved with Void and Dødheimsgard) and Viper (Yusaf "Vicotnik" Parvez) on bass and backing vocals, who is known for his involvement in Ved Buens Ende and Dødheimsgard. As far as I understand Code is predominantly guitarist Aort´s (Andy McIvor) baby though.

There are 8 tracks featured on the 53:54 minutes long album. The material is aggressive yet with a sense for melody and memorability which is mostly due to Kvohst´s diverse vocal delivery. His clean singing is intense and emotional in a dark and slightly monotone fashion while his raspy delivery sounds caustic and aggressive. There are some faster paced sections on the album but the tempo is mostly kept in mid-pace. This is certainly not your ultra fast blast beating kind of black metal album. Those who enjoy some of the above mentioned acts and their more twisted and experimental take on the black metal genre will probably find lots to like here. Maybe some will find it disrespectful if I say this but Code sounds a bit like Dødheimsgard "lite" to me (The "Supervillain Outcast (2007)" album. Without the samples though).

I would like to give a special mention to Viper´s bass playing on the album, because it´s something of a rarety that you can actually hear the bass in black metal. In this case it´s even very prominent and it´s greatly enjoyable to listen to some of Viper´s killer basslines. We´re not dealing with overtly technical playing but rather some melodic and clever basslines that enhance the listening experience. The music on the album isn´t overtly experimental and you´ll find many pretty straight forward parts. There´s a will to create original music and experiment with conventions here that I find admirable though. Another great feature on the album is Kvohst´s lyrics. As always they are quite bizarre and dark and they suit the music very well. If I have to make one complaint it´s probably that the tracks are at times a bit too lengthy for their own good, but it´s a minor complaint.

The sound production is professional, raw, and powerful, and it generally suits the music well. So upon conclusion Nouveau Gloaming is a good quality album by Code and while my rating isn´t a full 4 star (80%) rating but rather a 3.5 star (70%) rating, the album is quite the enjoyable audio journey and it´s definitely recommendable to fans of artists like Dødheimsgard, Void, Ved Buens Ende and Virus.

Thanks to UMUR for the artist addition.

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