If there’s one band out there that has every right to the Greek Epic Metal throne, that’s definitely BATTLEROAR. Started nearly twenty years ago, the band is primarily responsible for putting the Greek Epic Metal scene on the global map with shows and collaborations that far exceeded their country’s borders. The most profound of these moments have been the countless shows with US legends MANILLA ROAD and getting one of the most iconic vocalists of the underground European scene to join their ranks.
BATTLEROAR are back with their fifth long-awaited album, “Codex Epicus”, a follow up to 2014’s “Blood of Legends” and all those familiar with the band should know what to expect: solemn, mid-tempo songs, purely made of epic/doomy riffage, pompous choruses and melodies full of lyricism. The band has grown a lot throughout the years and their “raw” and eager style of the earlier days has given its place to a darker and more “mature” sound. Influences from bands such as MANILLA ROAD, BATHORY, PRIMORDIAL, CANDLEMASS, MANOWAR & BOLT THROWER are prevalent throughout the album and the band makes an excellent job in mingling them all together to produce its signature sound.
“Codex Epicus” is the second album with mr Mutz behind the mic and I have to say he sounds better and much more fitting compared to the previous one. These four years seem to have allowed the band the much needed time to work together during the writing process. Having a member living in a remote location is always challenging but BATTLEROAR seem to know how to make things work, given their previous frontman, Marco Concoreggi (DEXTER WARD), was also living abroad [in Italy].
The album consists of eight songs [+ one bonus track for the CD version] and has a total running time of 54 minutes. As in “Age of Chaos”, we get to see Mark Shelton making a guest appearance in “Sword of the Flame”, amplifying the mystical aura of the song with his emblematic voice. An outstanding moment is definitely “Enchanting Threnody” (threnody = funeral song), a song that starts with a slow, weeping clarinet melody (a clear reference to the Greek folk tradition of the North) only to grow into a Bathory-esque opus, spanning for over seven minutes. Other notable moments are “Chronicles of Might” (did you get that MANOWAR-esque vibe as well?) and “Kings of Old”, but don’t rely on any reviewer to tell you about them. Music is something more than one man’s opinion.
Summing up, “Codex Epicus” seems to be the right step after “Blood of Legends” and for me, it definitely lived up to the expectation its cover predisposed when the news of its release broke out.