Code
Lost Signal
(Agonia Records)

I’m not one to slag off on independent music, or the creative spirit necessary to reinvent canonized material. In hindsight, it is at least admirable to note that London-based Code took the time to re-imagine some of their older work, but the six songs on Lost Signal add up to one of the heaviest duds in a long while.

And it’s not the band. It’s not what I hear from the songs themselves. A few of the progressions, on “Coccoon” in particular, are cool and the mix is mostly good. It is the vocals belted out by the deep-throated singer, Wacian that are, well, awful, whether looked at for their content of platitudes of the antiquated attempt at soaring ’80s metal.

Code’s progress metal roots are there, even if they’re not terribly strong or imaginative. On and on throughout these tracks though, I’m struck by how deliberate the vocals come across, how “on message” they feel the lyrics have to be, in spite of the deft songwriting and craft at play elsewhere. I feel like Code could use a lesson in riddle, how to employ it in lieu of beating me over the head.

It is hard for me to imagine that there was much re-imagination that went into the new “Affliction,” a track that attempts to pair hair metal vocals with gutter/death growls. The results are downright bad, at times so discordant that they feel like two songs playing at once over one another. I mean, if your song is called “The Rattle Of Black Teeth” I would hope the vocals give you a sense of rot, of decay, but… no.

“Brass Dogs” represents the new material on Lost Signal and is the merciful end of the six tracks. Maybe it’s the best track, I don’t know, but I was happy to see it done with.

Purchase the album here.

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