Code first came to my attention around the time their second album 'Resplendent Grotesque' came out in 2009 and I remember what stood out for me was their utterly unique take on black metal. Kvohst's vocals reminded me of a black metal David Tibet and their sound, whilst undeniably black metal, skilfully managed to avoid all of the cliches such as tremolo picked guitars, shrieked vocals, etc that are normally associated with the genre. When Kvohst departed in 2011 I feared it was the end for the band but their third album, first with vocalist Wacian, 'Augur Nox' swiftly put an end to said fears.
Code's latest album 'mut' was released on the 27th February via Agonia Records and it marks a bit of a stylistic change for the band. They have dropped the black metal in favour of a more progressive, post-rock sound.
Album opener 'On Blinding Larks' starts with some Porcupine Tree-esque guitar before Wacian's unique vocals kick in and the guitars take on the sound they'll adopt for much of the remainder of the album, in that they're slow, haunting and somewhat discordant. One of the highlights is 'Affliction' which features a fantastic vocal melody and the albums only harsh vocal part. 'Inland Sea' is easily the catchiest song on display here, it picks up the pace from the rest of the album and boasts some fantastic lyrics. The vocal delivery in 'The Bloom In The Blast' is frantic and distressed making for quite an unsettling, tense song.
When a band decides to change their sound it can make for some pretty divisive opinions but although 'mut' is stylistically different, the aesthetics that make Code so special are still here even though it's presented in a different way. 'mut' is dark, brooding and introspective; full of synths and haunting arpeggios adding to the atmosphere of the album. It's an excellent addition to their back catalogue and I'm looking forward to seeing where the band will go from here.