OLDCODEX deliver their best album to date with LADDERLESS.
Title: LADDERLESS Label: Lantis Release date: 31/07/19 Genre: Pop-punk/Punk-rock
01. Parasite 02. One Side 03. Selector 04. Heading to Over 05. Sight Over The Battle 06. Clock 07. My Background One 08. Deeply Mind 09. Growth Arrow 10. falling down 11. Follow the Graph
[A note: all previously reviewed tracks were re-reviewed]
Track by track analysis:
1 – PARASITE
A dark, distant melody serves as the greeting card to PARASITE. The song take pride in its hard-hitting drums, heavy guitar riffs and dirty slap bass melodies. The song has a comfortable pacing that makes it easy to impact the listener while creating the perfect stage for Ta_2’s vocals to impress. A mix of clean, raspy vocals and screamo make this song a blast to listen to. And with this OLDCODEX kick off LADDERLESS in great fashion. 5/5
2 – One Side
Exciting guitar riffs lead the way for one side, song already known by the band’s fans. Raging guitar riffs, powerful, bass-driven drums and a thunderous bass line create a sound made to headbang along to. Its fast pace turns this song into an enjoyable tune.
Vocal wise Ta_2 showcases his control and smoothness switching from clean vocals to rougher vocals and, when needed, screamo. His performance is yet another reason why this song is so enjoyable to listen to. 5/5
3 – Selector
A heavy intro featuring atmospheric synths makes way for Selector. Speed is decreased and the instrumental sounds even heavier than usual. The hard-working instrumental tones down in the verses only to explode in tasteful chorus in which Ta_2’s trademark melodic/raspy vocals make an impression. 5/5
4 – Heading to over
Already another song known among the band’s fans is Heading to over. This song is know for its fast paced guitar riffs, clearly channeling the band’s early punk-rock roots. The beat is massive and one of the reasons the instrumental sounds this powerful. The cherry on top comes from the exciting, lightning fast guitar solo.
Imposing vocals mix with Ta_2’s clean vocals to create a perfect harmony. 5/5
5 – Sight over battle
Dirty guitar riffs and heavy electronica set an exciting tone to Sight over battle. Verses are quiet in contrast with the intro however, the song picks up its pace and the chorus is heavy and loud, a formula that works wonders with OLDCODEX. The highlight of this song lies in the high tension outro that, alongside Ta_2’s powerful vocals makes it impossible for the listener to not feel hyped up. 5/5
6 – Clock
Gears change for Clock. Distant guitar riffs, washy synths and a bigger focus on clean, melancholic melodies makes this song the perfect track to welcome the second half of the album. The band’s trademark sound is still present however it is executed in a way that channels a bit the most recent iterations by Bring Me The Horizon. Its rock but melodic, with pop lyrics, incorporating synths while still having the band’s essence felt with each melody. Ta_2’s performance fits this song like a glove, with the raspiness/rough tone of his being the perfect to convey melancholy, regret and longing. Outstanding performance. 5/5
7 – My background one
Power drums and heavy guitar riffs open the way for My background one. This song has a simple instrumental, resorting to toned guitars, snary drums and a noticeable bass line but the song is not heavy in comparison with previous entries in this album.
When it comes to vocals, Ta_2 always delivers and this song is no exception. 4/5
8 – Deeply Mind
A melancholic piano melody is joined by distant atmospheric synths and quiet guitar riffs and drums. Deeply Mind opens gradually, shifting from a delicate tune into a powerful melancholic tune with some shades of ballad in it. The quietness in the verses contrasts with the overwhelming emotions overflowing in the dramatic chorus. Strings add a nice touch in the chorus, enhancing the melancholic tone of this song.
Ta_2 excels in ballads or slower, melancholic rock tunes due to how versatile his vocals are. His clean vocals and perfect execution are more than enough to deal an emotional blow on the listener. 5/5
9 – Growth Arrow
Growth Arrow is the final well know song in this release. The intro has a rather familiar melody, channeling Linkin Park ‘s somewhere I belong. However the rest of the song is nothing like the song mentioned. It is fast and heavy, pending for punk-rock than it does to nu-metal.
The vocals are exciting and the pitch vocals/chants are great to make the listener want to sing along to this song. Growth Arrow is the kind of song that is made be played live. 5/5
10 – falling down
Dark, seesaw synths and what seems like brief tropical influences – coming from the synths -, tell us that falling down is unlike any other song on OLDCODEX song. Synths play an important role in dictating the pacing of the song and adding a completely new dimension to this album. The way those were added to this song alongside the groovy bass line and bassy drums make this tune a blast to listener to. The chorus channels a bit the textbook late 90’s, early 00’s rock/nu-metal era. Those that are fans of the genre will immediately feel the similar vibe to that era, the perfect nod to it while sounding completely fresh on this album.
Ta_2’s vocals in the chorus are the highlight. The way the progression was made, his crescendo, the way he extends his notes and connects different phrases in a seamless way are just some of the reasons why his performance shines in this song. 5/5
11 – Follow the graph
To wrap up this release we have the spine chilling power ballad, Follow the graph. Gentle, distant guitar melodies envelop Ta_2’s melancholic vocals. Synths are minimal but essential to create this distant, emotional soundscape. The chorus explores in emotion with electric guitar, a reverberating bass line and powerful drums join in to deal that lingering blow on the listener’s emotions.
Ta_2’s performance captures the melancholy in the song. His vibrato and clean vocals add those final layers of quality to this song. The album’s highlight. And, like this, the album wraps up in outstanding fashion. 5/5
OLDCODEX‘s LADDERLESS is an album that showcases an experienced band doing what they are best at, good, tasteful rock music.
The band pushed themselves to further incorporate new things or explore new melodies for their sound. As a result, more than ever we can tell the influence that Linkin Park and Bring Me The Horizon have in their composition, with songs like Growth Arrow and Clock sounding like songs that both bands would have easily composed. Ta_2‘s composition skills continue to impress us. He has grown as a multi-talented singer/songwriter in the last couple of years and nowadays, if a song hits your feelings, it will most certainly have his name in the composition credits. YORKE.‘s lyrics continue to pump our energy up. His creativity never ceases to impress us.
When it comes to choosing the best song on this album, it is Follow the Graph. This is the kind of ballad that suits OLDCODEX without straying away from their identity as well as it is the kind of song with the perfect soundscape in which Ta_2 sounds the most comfortable in. It reminded us of How affection – although less depressive in tone – and many other great power ballads/ballads the band has released since its inception.
LADDERLESS is a balanced album that caters to fans of nu-metal, punk-rock, pop-punk and ballads. The album feels good and complete when you do a start-to-finish listen of it. It takes you on an emotional roller coaster all while reminding you to have fun and enjoy yourself.
For these reasons and everything specific to each song in this album, we consider that LADDERLESS is OLDCODEX‘s best album to date.
LADDERLESS is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.