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On disc: Atlantean Kodex

The Golden Bough - Mike Thompson - 10 stars

The Golden Bough

The Golden Bough
(Cruz del Sur - 2010)

In 2007 a German band by the name of Atlantean Kodex released a four song EP entitled The Pnakotic Demos, a release that was hailed as a masterpiece by all that heard it. Three years later the quintet unleashes The Golden Bough, the first full-length. Does it live up to the promise of the demo?
For those who wish that epic metal didn't mean over-blown, cheesy keyboard melodies and dragon-slaying lyrics its time to raise your heads high! The Golden Bough heralds the dawn of a new age in epic metal songwriting. The sources of inspiration in this album are drawn from many places. There are vocal lines akin to iconic 60's legends Cream, some of the songs are reminiscent of the likes of Wishbone Ash whilst the influence of Nordland-era Bathory is undeniable.
Like many bands Atlantean Kodex are inspired by the works of Lovecraft and Tolkien, but their handling of this subject matter is far removed from the straightforward approach taken by many bands. It is far more intelligent and similar in approach to bands such as Summoning, Avathar and Sequester. Please note that I am only talking about the lyrical approach here as Atlantean Kodex bear no resemblance musically to any of these bands.
The song writing on this album is simply sublime. Atlantean Kodex have written nine songs for this album, most of which are quite long, not least the fifteen minute epic A Prophet In The Forest (Through Years Of Longing). Despite the length of most of these songs the album is captivating from beginning to end and simply breathtaking in its majestic approach to heavy metal.
Production is perfect. The guitars are heavy and burst into feats of soaring wizardry that enchant will enchant you every time you listen. The vocals of Markus Becker are clear and soaring. Not overly high as in the case with power metal singers but just a well-rounded voice that is a real pleasure to listen to. The drumming is also excellent through out and with Florian Kreuzer's bass provides a perfect platform with which Atlantean Kodex can craft the finest metal songs you have heard in many a year.
Atlantean Kodex have, with this album, unleashed one of the best albums of the year thus far, possibly even of the decade. The album, despite being grounded in heavy metal with elements of power and doom, is like a breath of fresh air blowing through the metal scene. It is a perfectly crafted gem that all metal fans should take to their hearts and cherish.

10 stars

Mike Thompson


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