The perfect balance. This is the state that Germany’s ATLANTEAN KODEX have managed to reach with their third “The Course Of Empire” full length album: An absolute Epic Metal masterpiece. Yes lets make some thing straight and clear from the beginning. The album is a masterpiece.
But what about your “perfect balance” point? You may ask. Well let me explain.
The band was formed around 2005 / 2006 by Trummer and Kreuzer. Time flies doesn’t it? Well I still remember their initial MySpace page -oh boy- that featured one or two demo tracks and me calling a friend of mine, pointing “you got to check those newcomers, they sound a lot like Solstice”.
Their “Pnakotic Demos” debut mini CD, released in 2007, gained them much praise and a fanatic following. In this particular release the band brought into the foreground their huge early MANOWAR influence. Among the other musical features and references this was the key influence on this particular release.
in 2010 the band released their debut album. “The Golden Bough“. Pounding Epic Steel straight from the battlefield, regressive and aggressive, still so inspired and unique. A soundtrack for war.
In 2013 the band released their -now -legendary- “The White Goddess” album. A classic monument of dramatic, Epic Metal. In this album ATLANTEAN KODEX developed a complete artistic vision through which they delivered their Epic Metal. From the music, the lyrics and the artwork, everything is so well arranged in there, bringing into the foreground a more poetic and deeper approach, to the music, to the lyrics, to the overall mystic creation that is called “White Goddess”. I have analyzed the overall album deeply in my back then review if you want to refresh your memory. In here I am giving the general idea.
And now? Now what? Well now… The perfect balance. The golden section. “The Course Of Empire”.
On this album ATLANTEAN KODEX have managed to balance perfectly the pounding Epic Metal of their debut and the dramatic Epic Metal of “White Goddess”, delivering the ultimate Epic Metal masterpiece that is called “The Course Of Empire”.
Someone may want to directly compare the new with the previous album. First things first: The album is even more pompous and lyrical compared to “White Goddess”. It is also darker, heavier and a little bit of complex as far its musical arrangements.
Someone else may ask about the influences on this record. And I will put them straight and clear: BATHORY -what do you mean which era?-, early MANOWAR (“Into Glory Ride”, “Sign Of The Hammer”, “Hail to England”). SOLSTICE (“Halcyon, “New Dark Age”). MANILLA ROAD can also be mentioned as a huge influence here. And not just musically. Their overall flame blesses every aspect of the album. Shark would be proud!
Yes you may ask about the songs that I would pick from the album. And I would answer that it is almost impossible to pick a single song. This album is meant to be listened in its entirety.
“The Course Of Empire” is an ecstatic piece of fine art. It perfectly represents the pounding march to battle, the desire to defend the big ideas that make every faithful to pick up the sword. The agony of the battle, the mourning for the burnt empires, the lust for revenge and the melancholy of someone who lives in the age of war… This album is a travel in time, to the battles already fought and to those who are about to come…
However I would point out some songs that I consider to be the real big moments here: “Chariots”, “He Who Walks Behind the Years”, “A Secret Byzantium” and of course the, almost 11 minutes long title track, the HYMN that is “The Course Of Empire”.
The dramatic vocals, the harmonic twin guitars delivering some really outstanding melodies are the key musical features on this release.
Speaking about the guitars I want to refer to the departure of long-standing lead guitar player Michael Koch, who was soon replaced by Coralie Baier (you may remember her from her participation on the first two album of the German thrashers ANTIPEEWEE). A new member will bring new air into a band. And I can assure you that this is the case in here as well.
A magnificent job has been done once again on the lyrics, drawing from countless literary and mythological sources. Actually I think that ATLANTEAN KODEX provide the most complete and beautiful lyric content that someone can read in today’s Epic Metal universe and yes they follow this path on this album as well.
And I really can not find the words to describe how Epic the front cover is. “Armia“ by Mariusz Lewandowski. It marks this masterpiece forever.
One last thing that I want to point is that this record will influence lots of bands once again. So far the impact that ATLANTEAN KODEX have, is huge. Many new bands were born drinking wine on their name. The formation of the new Epic Metal movement in Europe and USA carries a lot of Kodex vibe. I am already smiling thinking about the newcomers that will try to capture the vibe of this release in a rehearsal room.
“The Course Of Empire” is a magnificent album. I do not know if it is the best Epic Metal record released after the millennium… Time will tell… But if someone asks me to suggest ONE Epic Metal album released from 2000 to 2020, yes, “The Course Of Empire” would be the one.
Through the Darkness – we must wander
To red horizons – the mountain yonder
Calling us homeward, beckoning white from afar
Our paths are perilous, our spirits ponder…
HAIL to ATLANTEAN KODEX. HAIL!