- No Device
- Defective Parts
- Graven Image
- Mocking Shadows
- Sacred Hands
- Scent of Metal
- Attempts Fail Completely
No Device harkens back to the raw, stripped down and primal intensity that characterized the early days of post punk, back when it was still considered just punk, only punk that was a little off and slightly more unsettling than usual. Criminal Code straight rip and rock with an urgency and rabid junkie unpredictability that was traded in long ago when post punk started investing wholeheartedly in synthesisers and chorus pedal collections and diverting down broodier pathways to goth and whatever-wave.
That isn’t to say that Criminal Code have forsaken all of post-punk’s preoccupation with subtlety and atmosphere, it’s just, for lack of a better word, more subtle than the usual midnight fog of chorus and bed of synthesiser shimmer. Throughout No Device chorus is used only as the slightest colouring on the already unsettlingly atmospheric guitar work, which switches on a dime between serpentine melodies, angular, trebly chord-work, and bouts of harsh dissonance, and unless I’m mistaken, there isn’t a synthesiser in sight.
Criminal Code’s drummer crashes with a force more befitting a hardcore band; there’s no mistaking these beats for a drum machine. Likewise, Criminal Code’s vocalist eschews the standard pallid moaning and mono-baritone for a full throated roar with a faint but pervasive melodic undercurrent, more indebted to 90s post-hardcore than any Ian Curtis or Peter Murphy.
Criminal Code are a perfect mess of contradictions, simultaneously full-bodied and forceful, and cold, distant and washed-out, like a hardcore heart in pale post punk skin, or vice versa. (cvltnation.com)