Code is a British group that has followed a rather odd trend in metal. It was formerly a black metal band that, like many others before them (Alcest, Ulver, etc.), has morphed its sound further and further away from that genre over time. Code’s last album, Augur Nox, found the group embracing a progressive black metal sound much the same way as Enslaved has, which is to say it was really pretty music with blast beats. Thus, it makes sense that with their latest record, Code has decided to just shift its focus to making a pretty album.
In that regard, mut is an astounding success. The band is calling this a “progressive post-rock” album, which is fair, but it’s more along the lines of Anathema’s latest output, Solstafir, or Katatonia if they lacked riffs. That is all to say this:mut is a damned gorgeous album, filled with impressive vocal work and, just-the-right arrangements to make these songs feel pretty. There are moments that push the sound a hair past pretty, like the crescendo in “dialogue”, but they are too few and far between. That is, ultimately, the band’s biggest downfall. Code has nailed how to write a beautiful album; it’s extremely difficult not to be impressed by that, but it’s as if they forgot how to write interesting songs. None of these tracks really is captivating. For a post-rock band, there are few “wow” crescendos or anything all that epic. This lack of finishing feels, well, incomplete, and it renders these songs rather dull when you get down to it.
Unfortunately, Code forgot how to write good music between albums. They clearly focused on putting enough musical make-up and sharp clothing to initially dazzle listeners, but they forgot to give it a personality. It’s a shame to see an album with such potential utterly wasted. (Nicholas Senior)