Atlantean Kodex – “The Annihilation Of Bavaria” 2CD / DVD (Ván Records)
As if a sub genre unto themselves of the already underground ‘true’ metal movement, Atlantean Kodex are legendary warriors with a fanatical following who play an epic heavy metal along the lines of Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, and most notably, early Manowar, although without the classical aspect but instead more European folk. Deep in its nature, their music resonates as much in its passion as it does through its obvious power, but I have to say that the excellent musicianship and superior song writing takes this well beyond that of an underground band finding their feet, but rather an undiscovered gem whose loyal followers jealously guard its secret! Recorded and filmed at Kulturschloss Theuern befitting such mystique, this 14 track colossus aptly captures the band’s performance, not to mention the emotion of the fans, many of whom came from other countries, who are up there singing and chanting along with the band. It’s easy to see what all the fuss is about, vocalist Markus Becker sounds just like a young Eric Adams, possessed of equal range with an abundance of soulfulness and crystal clarity in every aspect to carry the rich material. The music is definitive of this forgotten era of metal in both its heaviness and abundant melodies executed brilliantly through the twin guitars of Michael Koch and Manuel Trummer, interweaving epic riffs, heart breaking melodies and plenty of skillful solos, all the while backed by a hard n heavy rhythm, especially in Mario Weiss’s dull thudding drums. Created as a traditional alternative to commercial metal and as much influenced by European mythology as writers like Robert E Howard, the song lengths – some over 10 mins – reflect the epic theme although they are contrasted by tender 2 minute vocal solo pieces so this live set is as diverse and underground as the band’s fans truly deserve. The likes of ‘From The Shores Forsaken’ with its high vocals mixed with rumbling bass and slow power riffs could’ve have come from “Hail To England” while the 9 minute ‘Heresiarch’ with its heavily plucked bass and warrior theme immediately brought Cirith Ungol to my mind. For me, the 13 minute epic folk of ‘A Prophet In The Forest ‘ brought it all home through Becker’s stirring vocals and the deep, slightly melancholic guitars and of course, that heavy rhythm that proved why this band is so special and revered. An absolutely stunning masterpiece.