Code – Mut (Agonia Records)

Tuesday, 24th February 2015
Rating: 7/10

Ah, the dreaded left-hand turn album. The controversial alteration in sound LP. The risk-taking change that no one saw coming body of work. Any of those are applicable when discussing Code’s fourth album, Mut. Considered to be one of the fastest-rising extreme metal acts in the U.K., the band were on an upward swing based on the excellence of their 2013 album, Augur Nox, which was equally progressive as it was awash with out-of-the-box black metal elements. Surely they could have continued with a similar path on ensuing albums, no? Guess not, for Mut is a detour into the sometimes hit, sometimes miss world of progressive rock, one that may leave a lot of fans behind.

The heavier and/or extreme elements that comprised of the band’s previous sound are all but eliminated. Heck, this doesn’t even teeter on being a regular metal album, having more in common with the spatial, thought-provoking works of The Chant, Porcupine Tree, Wolverine, and the lot. Frankly, Sweden’s Wolverine are the first band to come to mind when taking in free-form, jangly alt-rock songs like “On Blinding Larks,” and “Dialogue,” the latter being a reserved, contemplative number that only has any real jolt thanks to Wacian’s vocals.

The rest of the album, unfortunately, is a hard sell. The Tool-based “Inland Sea” might feel a tad on the stuffy side for some folks; “Numb, An Author,” is another reserved, devoid-of-intensity track, with a rash of relaxed chords, only to blossom into an off-beat rock song; while “A Bloom in the Blast” appears too late in the running order, a lush, hearty, melodic number with a swooning chorus to boot.

We’ve seen countless bands steer away from their original sound, and the results usually aren’t in their favor. Granted, this is hardly a Cold Lake-like clunker, but considering what Code’s designated audience is, the off-beat and prog-y sounds of Mut is going to make this one of 2015’s most debated albums.

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