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Review: Atlantean Kodex - The Course of Empire
Atlantean Kodex
The Course of Empire

Label: Van Records
Year released: 2019
Duration: 1:02:34
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: September 10, 2019
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
The Course of Empire

Rated 4.41/5 (88.18%) (22 Votes)

The Course of Empire, the third full-length from Atlantean Kodex, one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2019, is here. Fans have been salivating nearly six years for this and the question on all our minds is how does it compare to its justifiably lauded predecessors, The Golden Bough and The White Goddess? The short answer is it is good. Very good.

Atlantean Kodex have been flying the flag of "epic" and "true" heavy metal for over a decade, never wavering from their mission. This is a band that creates visions of expansive and ancient landscapes with their songwriting as well, probably better, than any other band. Their lyrics have always delved deep into history, conjuring tales of lost peoples and cultures, some based in reality, some with more fantastic elements attached and as storytellers, they excel. Their riffs are always huge and purposeful. There's no unnecessary noodling or extraneous excesses. The vocal lines are created with two purposes in mind; lend the appropriate gravitas to the subject matter and allow the listener to immediately catch hold and sing along. Fine examples of Atlantean Kodex's songcraft can be found on the soaring chorus of "Lion of Chaldea", the thought-provoking lyrics of "A Secret Byzantium" and the epic, emotional journey of "The Course of Empire". The Course of Empire is everything the fans could have hoped for.

I've agonized over my score, which may cause you to ask why, given my obvious fondness for the album. Among my initial thoughts were that Atlantean Kodex had set the bar so very high with The White Goddess and The Course of Empire has not exceeded it. I also heard a few obvious Manowar-inspired riffs (notably in "Chariots" and a few others) from the Into Glory Ride/Hail to England era. These things had me questioning how high my score for The Course of Empire would be. Then I said to myself, "what if this were the first time I heard Atlantean Kodex?" and it dawned on me that docking points for not necessarily exceeding an all-time favorite album (The White Goddess) or being inspired by the early, and best, output of one of my favorite bands wasn't a fair way to grade the album. At the end of the day, it gets the 5/5 because as I stated at the outset, it's good. So very good.

Other related information on the site
Review: The Golden Bough (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Golden Bough (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Pnakotic Demos (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The White Goddess (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The White Goddess (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Manuel Trummer (Guitar) on September 12, 2010 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Manuel Trummer (Guitars) on September 8, 2013 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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