Atlantean Kodex – The Golden Bough (Cruz del Sur Music)

Wednesday, 20th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

As far as traditional metal offerings go, you’re not going to cull a more remote outfit than Bavaria’s Atlantean Kodex. Not having much to do with one particular scene or country works in the band’s favor, as The Golden Bough has various moments and movements that few dyed-in-the-wool Euro metal bands would do. These ideas are what give the album a unique sheen, even if there’s this juvenile tinge to it, which was bound to happen when you name asong after your own band. The band gets a mulligan, though.

The band stays out of power territory primarily because there’s galloping double-bass runs, and the riffs lean more toward on the doomy side (think a more Euro While Heaven Wept). Singer Markus Becker is hardly remarkable, preferring to stick closely to his chosen range and pitch, but comes through during opener “Fountain of Nepenthe,” and the 11 minute-plus “Pilgrim,” which has a healthy streams of guitar harmonies and big, spacey riffs.

Without a real surge in the tempo, The Golden Bough occasionally gets to wrapped in being epic for the sake of being epic, although it’s hard to find fault with gallant numbers like “Temple of Kathonic Magick” and the catchy “Vesperal Hymn.” None of these songs are in any hurry to get anywhere, save for “The Atlantean Kodex,” which un-wisely dumps in artificial crowd noise and is easily the cheesiest song of the bunch.

Clearly made for European audiences who simply devour music like this, The Golden Bough probably won’t make much headway with American audiences, who have never quite latched onto bands as laid-back and concerted as this. Nevertheless, Atlantean Kodex are an enticing proposition, one that should only be more appealing once they learn that meandering along isn’t the best way to grab attention. Oh yeah, the album artwork rules by the way.

(This content originally appeared on

[fbcomments width="580"]