Welcome back. Another week of this year is in the bag, and with it comes another opportunity to dissect a great new piece of music alongside a good, strong beverage. This week’s pairing is something of a return to form; beer is back on the menu, and although the album it is paired with is not something I usually reach for, it is definitely something that struck me favorably. The Metal: Code Orange’s Forever. The Booze: Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea.
The Metal: Code Orange’s Forever
I will cop to being something of a novice when it comes to the kind of beatdown hardcore Code Orange have been purveyors of. The style serves to scratch a certain itch, but there are few albums that offer me much to come back to beyond that. Code Orange’s 2014 album I Am King was the album I gave the most attention to out of the pack, but outside of the novelty of the god-killing heavy breakdowns, it was something of a one note affair. It seems the band also was dissatisfied with the uniform nature of their scene, and their answer to by-the-books hardcore bands far and wide is Forever, an album that sees them expanding their horizons to a stunningly impressive degree. Tracks like “Forever” and “Spy” show Code Orange still doing what they do best but with a considerably darker sound, augmented with harsh noise blasts, industrial keyboards, and drum samples. And then, suddenly, the listener is confronted with “Bleeding in the Blur” and “Ugly”, tracks of pure dark alt-rock glory, full of catchy vocal melodies and decidedly breakdown-free. As out-of-left-field as these songs may seem in the scheme of Forever as a whole, these dynamic shifts do not feel out of place at all, and are tied in to the bigger picture by capturing the same atmosphere as the heavier tracks, albeit through different means. Code Orange clearly are a band that knows how to make experimentation work for them, and in being unapologetic in the making of Forever, they have created an album that I will return to not because it suits a certain mood, but because it is something I truly, earnestly love. Thinners of the Herd indeed; this is light-years ahead of where other similar bands are.
The Booze: Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea
We have covered Ballast Point Brewery before in this column, but Victory at Sea is a new challenger in the ring. It is a brew I have had my eye on for quite some time though, so finally being able to sample it is satisfying. Victory at Sea is a porter flavored with local Caffe Calabria coffee beans and vanilla; something that long time readers and anyone who knows me IRL will know is right in my wheelhouse. While the initial sip is overwhelmingly bitter coffee heavy, as the brew approaches room temperature the subtler notes start to emerge and the palate becomes softer, more balanced, and decidedly more enjoyable. Deep roasted coffee, chocolate, and malts are rounded out by a smooth vanilla finish that expertly masks the 10% ABV this brew is packing. Fans of the darker side of beer will do well to check this out.
That about wraps this Evcharist up. Hopefully you’ve found something good to take away from reading this. I’m certainly basking in the glow of good tunes and a good drink right now. Thanks for checking this out, as always, and keep checking back for more pairings.
Cheers, and be good to each other,