Code of Ethics was one of the premiere names in electronic pop in Christian music throughout the 90's. Formerly
on Forefront Records, Code of Ethics took a break from the industry after their 1999 Word Records release, Blaze,
so vocalist Barry Blaze could lead worship at a church in Florida. But after a severe motorcycle accident, Blaze suffered
serious hearing and vision loss that looked to impair his ability to make music ever again. God had other plans for the
singer, and after a number of surgeries to restore some of his hearing and sight, and with a renewed passion for music,
Barry Blaze has revived Code of Ethics from its slumber.
Code's return to music comes in the form of Lost In Egypt, an independently released album produced entirely by
Blaze himself, something that Blaze hasn't done since the band's self-titled album in 1993. For Lost In Egypt,
Code of Ethics takes a more classic approach to electronic music, capturing more of the feel of that 1993 release than
any of the band's later projects. However, in some respects, it's the production values created by the pairing of Blaze with Tedd T.
that made an album like the 1995 release, Arms Around The World, so memorable. That record was distinctly more symphonic, polished (but not overly),
and diverse, despite being more accessible. But Lost In Egypt still captures much of the things
that Code of Ethics fans knew and loved about them. And the way it begins is no exception.
Lost In Egypt opens with "Smile," a deliciously catchy pop anthem that merely tries to spread a little joy
to the listener as the chorus states, "Don't let the voices pull you down / Joy like the morning comes around /
Reach for the hope that shines above / Under the stars you'll find you're loved / So smile." If anything, "Smile"
offers the most of what made Arms Around The World as strong as it was. With strings, a pulsing beat, and
harmonies, it's Code of Ethics at its best. From here, Lost In Egypt explores 80s and early 90s influences,
even going as far as to cover Depeche Mode's "People Are People," a band who greatly impacted Blaze's stylings. The title
track is the edgiest song on the album, an industrial rock song about feeling like a slave to sin and the struggles in trying
to be like Christ. "Beautiful Lamb" is the first of a few straight forward worship anthems. The song first appeared on Blaze's
solo album released last year but is given the electronic treatment here. Not exactly your typical Code song or worship song,
it's a nice, simple song of praise. "Were You There" channels some of the retro stylings of the self-titled album, utilizing
a fast beat and electronic samples layered behind Blaze's deeper vocal delivery. "Somebody's Waiting" lyrically focuses on
missions while the fast-paced techno of "Perfect" is another praise anthem. "Goodbye" picks up where "Were You There" left
off musically and in mood, but Blaze sings the song's chorus (despite different lyrics) almost exacltly like the bridge from "Nothing Really Changes"
on Arms Around The World, doubling as a bit of a nod to his past work. "Can't Live A Day" is a little bit like the
ugly duckling of the album. While it hardly feels like anything else on the record, it's the kind of song that is likely
to get lodged in your head on repeat with a chorus that proclaims, "And I can't live a day without You / Won't last a minute if I try /
Can't live a day without You by my side," putting our thoughts in the right place as we reflect on our dependence on Christ.
To close Lost In Egypt, Blaze resurrects Code's first number one single from 1993, "Something Real," giving it a new
rendition for a new generation as it remains relevant even fifteen years later. And as a bonus, Blaze caps off the record
with his first ever self-produced remix, "Lost In Egypt (Desert Sand Mix)," an electric guitar driven take-two of the title track.
It's a fine mix, and good enough to make the idea of future remixes from Blaze a hopeful endeavor.
In the end, Lost In Egypt is a welcomed return from Code Of Ethics. Probably the group's strongest release in
thirteen years, this independent release, although rough around the edges (some of the beats are similar from track to track
or feel too repetitive), is a great way to reintroduce Code Of Ethics.
As Code gets back into the game and stretches their creative wings a bit, old fans and new ones alike can hope this won't be the last we'll hear
from the group. Welcome back, Code of Ethics! You've been missed.
- Review date: 9/10/08, written by John DiBiase
Very little techno-dance music is released in this new century, and there is almost nothing,
with the exception of Joy Electric and Echoing Green, making it to the surface of the Christian world today.
Barry Blaze makes a return to the sound found on Code of Ethics' self-titled Forefront Records debut in 1993.
Right from the opening track, it seems as though Code of Ethics was never absent for 8 years. "Smile" is a very upbeat
song that is meant to bring hope that one can have a better experience with the help of God. "People are People"
(originally performed by Depeche Mode) is a great cover song that adds some variation to this former 80s hit song.
The title track is obviously one of the highlights found on the album, which seems to create an appropriate sound for the
content of the song. "Beautiful Lamb" and "Perfect" are nice worship songs that will remind the listener of CoE's Blaze.
"Goodbye" will recall sounds abundant in Depeche Mode's 2005 release, Playing the Angel. The new version of
"Something Real" is completely recreated with some improvements such as escalating the speed and adding more variation.
At the closing of the album, we are given a worthy remix and extended version of the title track.
Lost in Egypt is one of the most dynamic releases found in CoE's career, and although it will recall their earlier days,
it displays some elements from today that can be observed in songs like the title track and "Somebody's Waiting."
With releases this good, I hope to hear more from Code of Ethics soon.
- Wayne Myatt of Jesusfreakhideout.com