Atlantean Kodex. Bavarian purveyors of the richest epic metal outside of Solstice, writers of lyrics both poetic and rich in academic research. A truly remarkable troupe whose last studio album The White Goddess is a genuine classic. If you know them you will want this. Doubly so if you have had the pleasure of seeing them live. If you don’t and want to know if this is a good place to start, then….
Well firstly thanks to Van/PR/whoever for sending the full release to us [primo PR company Sure Shot Worx actually, thee Ed]. It is a beautifully packaged double CD plus DVD and booklet that looks fantastic, really. Spot on artwork and layout. Contents? Well essentially this is a concert from 2015 celebrating ten years of the Kodex in front of a home crowd (plus international travellers) and is a full performance of The White Goddess album bookended by a few older, and one newer, songs. Their sound is rooted in classic heavy metal; heavy and with a huge sound, melodic hooks sharp as razor wire and impassioned, soaring vocals. This isn’t a Teflon coated sound either, there is no satin shirt slick dragon bothering power metal here, this is t-shirt and jeans with huge heart and musical virtuosity and grit. Bits of Manilla Road, Solstice, early While Heaven Wept and the like were the seed and they grew into this with love and attention to the craft.
The sound is excellent and very true to my memories; very much live but showcasing, from the outset of ‘From Shores Forsaken’ the delicate musical touch and emotional but superb vocals. The DVD, the exact same concert as spread over the two CDs, is well shot too; multiple camera angles which, considering the stage here is an unexpected bonus, and good lighting. It shows in sight and sound just precisely why we love this music: Atlantean Kodex working hard but with emotion and belief wound into every note. It’s a celebration to be sure, band and crowd connected, but it doesn’t seem to exclude the viewer, it is so warm in its welcome that there should be no problem for new listeners, and the refrains on songs such as ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Heresiarch’ or the driving riff and guitar runs on the classic ‘Sol Invictus’ are so immediate that, yes, rather like Orange Goblin’s A Eulogy For The Fans’ this is that rarity, a live album that is a great introduction to new listeners.
High points? Well of course there’s the emotional wrench of ‘Seven Stars And An Azure Gown’ with the crowd singing every word, or the short vocal only old song ‘The White Ship’ which still raises goosebumps, or the rousing rendition of ‘The Atlantean Kodex’ but with over and hour and a half of music here there is something that should grab everyone.
Honestly this is superb. Great package and stunning value, showcasing all the reasons to fall in love this exceptional band; depth, intelligence, accessibility but above all songs and heart.
Oh and if you do try this and enjoy, please do go and read interviews with the band (there’s one on these pages) as their themes and interests are every bit as fascinating as the music.
Promethea’s torch does indeed burn here.