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Code - "Augur Nox" (CD)

Code - "Augur Nox" CD cover image

"Augur Nox" track listing:

1. Black Rumination
2. Becoming Host
3. Ecdysis
4. Glimlight Tourist
5. Dx. (interlude)
6. Garden Chancery
7. The Lazarus Cord
8. The Shrike Screw
9. Rx. (interlude)
10. Trace of God
11. Harmonies in Cloud
12. White Tryptych

Reviewed by on November 5, 2013

"If you like bands that blend calm and clean segments with black metal, from Enslaved to Todtgelichter, Code’s “Augur Nox” is something to put at the top of your queue."

Gloriously uninterested in maintaining genre norms, U.K. outfit Code is just as much a rock band as it is a purveyor of black metal. “Augur Nox” is the band’s third full-length album, and it has all the oddity and avant-garde genre mashing that made fans love predecessor “Resplendent Grotesque.” While there’s plenty of heavy material and harsh vocals, the album does see a shift towards a more atmospheric and laid back experience this time around, especially on the second half.

In traditional Code style, the audience is on a roller coaster from the beginning with “Black Rumination.” The song starts out like conventional abrasive black metal, throws in the rock elements, adds in clean singing, takes the guitars for a melodic turn, and then eventually brings it all together by the time the song ends. The album as a whole features a good deal of vocal variations, and the clean vocals aren’t the usual thing you’d expect, rather ending up more freeform and grandiose - almost operatic - but in a recognizably metal way.

Despite the fact that “Augur Nox” could easily be classified as an experimental release, the album may actually be one of the most traditionally structured Code outings. There isn’t a whole lot that’s immediately on the same level of high-energy oddity like “Jesus Fever” from the previous album. Much of the disc feels like dark ‘90s or early ‘00s rock along the lines of Tool has been stretched across a black metal frame.

So what genre is the album really in? Post-black metal? Prog-black? Avant-garde? Regardless of what it’s called, it’s definitely a solid mix of different styles. If you like bands that blend calm and clean segments with black metal, from Enslaved to Todtgelichter, Code’s “Augur Nox” is something to put at the top of your queue.

Highs: A dark rock sound blends into black metal without skipping a beat.

Lows: The production basically demands headphones - this isn't a car stereo kind of album - and its a bit more laid back than previous releases.

Bottom line: Code continues to experiment with blending atmospheric, dark rock sounds into abrasive black metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)