Germany's Atlantean Kodex is something of an anomaly within current metal trends. Their brand of heavy metal on their first full-length work, The Golden Bough, is pure classic or traditional (melodic) heavy metal. While most bands are delving into an amalgam of black, thrash and hardcore, and both fans and labels are clamoring for the latest and next big redundancy, Atlantean Kodex reverts to the heavy metal that put 'metal' in our CD players (likely on our record players) and on the map better than 25 years ago. This is the same heavy metal that paved they way for every modern metal occurrence prospering (or not) today. Additionally, and again contrary to modern trends, AK's members are thoughtful exploring intelligent themes in their music, subjects beyond the angst, hatred, violence, and debauchery of modern metal and hard rock.
The Golden Bough is epic in its lyrical content and musical arrangements. The thematic framework is based on Sir James George Frazer's The Golden Bough which posits the theory that all European religions have pagan origins in magical cults and fertility rites, dating back to the stone-age. Additionally, AK ponders if there was not a time when all people were united as one in this fundamental root religion, without divisions of race and nations. Consequently, they wonder if this cannot be attained once more. This is heady stuff for any musical tapestry, but I can hardly imagine that the brain dead slamming their noggins together in the modern metalcore mosh pit would even understand or get this.
Nevertheless, the impact of The Golden Bough comes from the dynamic compositions of pure epic heavy metal. Building upon a tight and assertive rhythm section, Atlantean Kodex adds layers of bombastic majesty with broad and shifting movements, sterling guitar solos, and firm, sometimes soaring, vocals. Compositions can rush headlong, become earnestly steady, or reach for the skies. Often they do all in the same song as within A Prophet in the Forest or The Atlantean Kodex. Best, however, is that AK keeps you intrigued and entertained in these epic numbers, simply because the compositions are well-crafted and Atlantean Kodex are darn fine musicians. Today's ADD metal youngsters will probably cringe at this. (But there's no accounting for taste or stupidity.)
If you appreciate the breadth and depth of traditional (old school) heavy metal, strengthened by thoughtful lyrical content, then Atlantean Kodex's The Golden Bough is first rate, definitive, material. This outstanding work flies in the face (better: slaps the face) of current modern metal redundancy with formidable metal acumen and power. Strongly recommended.
If you appreciate the breadth and depth of traditional (old school) heavy metal, strengthened by thoughtful lyrical content, then Atlantean Kodex's The Golden Bough is first rate, definitive, material.