The last time we heard from Code Orange, they were playing in an empty venue. The Pittsburgh metallic hardcore avengers had just released their great new album Underneath, and they were set to play a huge hometown record-release show when the pandemic hit. So Code Orange used the venue, playing to no audience but livestreaming the show and getting tens of thousands to watch. Last night, Code Orange once again played a basically-empty room, but the whole situation was different.
Code Orange have now had an association with WWE for three years running. In 2017, Code Orange performed at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. NXT, the generally-pretty-great WWE developmental brand, was doing a pay-per-view, and Code Orange played the entrance music for spooky occult wrestler Aliester Black. (Incendiary’s Brendan Garrone, who sang on Black’s theme music, joined them.) Last year, when WWE star Bray Wyatt remade himself as masked ghoul the Fiend, Code Orange reworked his theme music. And last night, Code Orange played their song “Underneath” to open NXT’s TakeOver: In Your House pay-per-view.
Code Orange’s mathy and convulsive sound owes at least a little bit to nü-metal, which has been wrestling’s default sound for more than 20 years. (NXT’s theme music comes from Code Orange collaborators Slipknot.) And while Code Orange’s wild frag-grenade music might be a tough sell for some wrestling fans, the band is pretty much perfect for this kind of setting. One of a pro wrestler’s most important skills, for example, is the ability make goofy faces at a camera on demand. In last night’s performance, the consistently shirtless Code Orange bassist Joe Goldman put on an absolute goofy-face clinic. Nobody can make goofy faces like that guy. Watch the performance below.
WWE is a genuinely evil company, and yet I am seriously considering this purchase.
Underneath is out now on Roadrunner.