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Atlantean Kodex - "The Golden Bough" (CD)

Atlantean Kodex - "The Golden Bough" CD cover image

"The Golden Bough" track listing:

1. The Atlantean Kodex
2. Pilgrim (Through The Ruins Of Europa)
3. The Golden Bough
4. Fountain Of Nepenthe (Journey To The Island Of The Blessed)
5. Temple Of Katholic Magick
6. Vesperal Hymn (For A Long-Gone Friend)
7. Disciples Of The Iron Crown
8. A Prophet In The Forest

Reviewed by on January 24, 2011

"To put it plainly, the music often plods when it should soar."

Atlantean Kodex aims for the majesty of classic metal on "The Golden Bough," but, despite some considerable technical skills, all too often falls short of the mark. To put it plainly, the music often plods when it should soar.

Certainly, Markus Becker has the pipes to carry off the classic metal sound, with his booming performance on "Temple of Katholic Magick" especially standing out. He also livens up "The Atlantean Kodex," the album's standout speedy track. Regrettably, there are quite a few times throughout the album, including the otherwise excellent "Disciples Of The Iron Crown," in which he's largely covered up in a wall of guitars.

On many of the tracks, Atlantean Kodex is going for an epic feel, a la Sabbath and Zeppelin. The problem is that guitarists Manuel Trummer and Michael Koch do so with seemingly endless stretches of long, sustained notes that make tracks like the 11-minute "Pilgrim" and the 15-minute "A Prophet In The Forest" feel even longer, despite the efforts of drummer Mario Weiss, who tries to fill the empty space with interesting fills.

The faster tracks, the aforementioned "Disciples Of The Iron Crown" and "The Atlantean Kodex" work better, with a Dio-era Sabbath feel. The band also deserves credit for starting the album in the best way possible. The alchemy is just about perfect on the opener, "Fountain Of Nepenthe," with a balance of fast and slow sections that plays to the band's strengths.

Atlantean Kodex aims for an epic feel on "The Golden Bough," but it's often a far-too-slow-going affair with little momentum. Only the most dedicated myth-metal fans need apply.

Highs: The superb opener "Fountain Of Nepenthe" and the speedy "The Atlantean Kodex" and "Disciples Of The Iron Crown"

Lows: Far too many slow songs rob the album of most of its momentum.

Bottom line: A myth-metal album that aims for an epic feel, but too often falls short of the mark.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 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)