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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - CODE BLACK - Penetration

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Rating explanation

Code Black - Penetration (5/10) - USA - 2004

Genre: Hardcore
Label: Arctic Music Group
Playing time: 44:09
Band homepage: -


  1. Sound Is All That Remains
  2. Superior Machine
  3. Penetration
  4. Hell Of A World
  5. Killing Word
  6. Afterlife
  7. Addictive Dimension
  8. Scream When You Burn
  9. Nothing Left
  10. Escape Vision Pain
  11. Losing Myself
  12. Black Mirror
Code Black - Penetration

There was a time when I was young and thought Hardcore was cool (sigh), listening to BIOHAZARD and PRO PAIN gave me a lot of energy to go around with through a single day. Ask me again today and you’ll find out that I couldn’t care less about this style, I respect it, it’s honest, aggressive, heavy and pulsating music, but I miss the contrast of melodic touches.


These guys are supposedly veterans (according to the bio), you can tell by the performance, song writing and sound quality emerging from the twelve tracks offered on “Penetration”, but as I said the problem here is me, this is not my thing, I can never get addicted to this kind of music the same way I’ve experienced with Melodic bands, and bands who are more varied for that matter.


It’s not that the tracks are devoid of melody, of course you’ll find a few melodies here and there, “Afterlife” is an eye opener for me due to the fact that it actually has heavy and melodic arrangements side by side, and the instrumental closing track shows some experimental atmospheres and what seems to be Darth Vader breathing heavily behind the instrumental layers.


There are moments, but very few that I really enjoy, “Killing Word” has an ok intro but is soon levelled to the ground by a primitive strike of boiling U.S. Hardcore hatred. KATAKLYSM guitarist Jean Francois Dagenais did produce the album and may even have contributed with a few riffs it seems as some of them could have been placed on “Shadows And Dust”, heavy shit.


Vocals do more damage than good here, they’re not aggressive as in extreme, rather weak, mild and dispirited which is the last thing you need for a Hardcore band, this is why I never got into MADBALL, AGNOSTIC FRONT and HELMET now that I recall, the vocalist is supposed to add mayhem to the music goddammit, oh the flashbacks!


It’s ok for a Death Metal band to use some Hardcore variations in small portions but as core element for structure, arrangement and drive, this is just too monotonous for me. CODE BLACK are far from being a bad choice should you like mid-tempo to occasional fast Hardcore music, as for me, I think I’ll stick to Metalcore in the future. (Online November 14, 2004)

Frodi Stenberg

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