'Let’s be honest, surprises in Metal or any musical form are pretty rare. You know most of the time what you’ll get from an album cover or even a band name. But, every so often an album comes along that does catch you off-guard and while that is no guarantee of quality, when it is there seems something a little more special about it. “Nouveau Gloaming” the first full length album from CODE is a record in which the surprise is fully welcomed. An amalgam of U.K. and Norwegian Black Metal members of ULVER and VED BUENS ENDE, CODE would be expected to perhaps take a more tried and true route. But not so.
The surprise in some way is from the first track “The Cotton Optic”, not because it is different but because it is solid and standard fare for contemporary Black Metal. So, one then expects an album of the such, right? Hell no, not this puppy. That first song was just a set up for a layered, diverse and engaging Black Metal record that truly is very difficult to define for the most part. This isn’t your visceral ANAAL NATHRAKH type album here, not that there is ever anything wrong with that. No, CODE are off for the most part on a seemingly slower but even more somber and at times meandering sound. Now, don’t take meandering in any way to be a pejorative term for most of the tracks on the release, it’s not. Take for example the opus-like second song, “Brass Days”. Opening with an atmospheric guitar twang, it is soon followed by a receded, distant voice sounding as if coming from inside a far off cage. Actually, it is a process used now and then and mastered by my non Metal hero Tom Waits on many of his mid to late releases. It probably is someone screaming through a guitar pick-up, but is chilling especially when the voice turns to monotone singing backed with a nefarious growl behind it. The song plays along in what I can only describe as Gloomy Black Metal, with a pounding chorus injected at times throughout the nearly eight minute epic. This is what a foggy night in Prague should have as its soundtrack (yes, that is a metaphor bordering on the brink of cheese, but apt).
Don’t think this album is without moments of flat out Black Metal volleys that will blast even die hard fans of the genre. However, CODE have also given an extra dimension that is extremely welcoming. The only comparable sound is the most recent ENSLAVED efforts, although not quite on the same level of brilliance. Still, this is a damn fine album that I have been listening to over and over, not just to review it, but because it’s bloody good. That is always a good sign to me.'