"The Rise of Atlantis"

Interview by Earthdog

As I said in my review for this band's latest album, Heavy Metal does still exist if you go and look for it. Atlantean Kodex are one of the best examples on how majestic true Heavy Metal can be if bands would get off this trend-hopping bandwagon that most of them seem to be on. The band hasn't had a busy recording career but they have produced some of the most thrilling "Metal Music" since forming in 2006. The new album titled "The Golden Bough" is one of the best albums recorded in the last 10 years... epic and dynamic with engaging lyrical themes. Here is a interview with guitarist Manuel Trummer, hope you like it...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Hello Manuel, thanks for this interview. Let me start off by saying I love the new album but a lot of people like me don't know much about the history of band so can you tell the readers about how the band was formed and its members, both past and present ?

MANUEL TRUMMER: The band was brought to life by Kreuzer and myself in autumn/winter 2005. Our aim was (and is) to create uncompromising epic heavy metal in the vein of the first four Manowar albums and Bathory's "Twilight of the Gods". Back then our main motivation was that we missed that certain kind of music. There are hardly any bands left which play that utterly triumphant and melancholic sound. That's why we decided to take the matter in our own hands. At first, it was purely a fun project for ourselves. You know...making noise on a Sunday afternoon and drinking beer. But when we uploaded a couple of songs to the internet, the reactions were immense. People seemed to have been waiting for music like ours. That's when we decided to turn it into a real band. At first we were joined by Phil Swanson of Hour of 13 and Seamount who recorded the "Hidden Folk" EP with us. After that we were joined by Becker, who has been our vocalist ever since and recorded the "Pnakotic Demos" and "The Golden Bough" with us.

WC:: Atlantean Kodex are a rather obscure and underground band (no offense of course). Have you always been the kind of band that doesn't care about making it big or is it just circumstances that made it that way?

MT: I know, it sounds so cliche but we really don't have any ambitions at all with the band. The success of this album comes as a total surprise to us and we're really happy about the positive feedback but that doesn't change the fact that Atlantean Kodex for us is purely a "hobby". You know, we're all in our 30's and 40's and we don't have the illusions of becoming rockstars with our music anymore. It's all about recording a couple of cool songs in the style of metal we all love, playing a few live shows and hanging out with fellow headbangers. That's all we wanna do.

WC: There are a lot of epic-metal tendencies with the bands music. Later-era Bathory is one that springs to mind but what are some of the other influences the band has?

MT: Besides the Bathory- and early Manowar-influences we're mainly into classic 80's US heavy metal like Warlord, early Fates Warning or Manilla Road, the more epic NWOBHM bands like Elixir, Dickinson-era Maiden or Traitor's Gate, 70's heavy rock like Uriah Heep and Rainbow and loads of traditional folk music.

WC: You are obviously influenced by Tolkien in your lyrics, how and when did this fascination begin to surface ?

MT: I first got in touch with Tolkien's works when I was a kid of maybe 10 years. It was "The Hobbit" which immediately caught my fascination. I was amazed by the way Tolkien portrayed a different world with a mythology and history of its own. Immediately after that I read "The Lord of the Rings" and everything else by him. What I want to point out are Tolkien's poems. I feel that he's really underrated as a poet. His language and vocabulary are so overwhelming. The short poems in "The Lord of the Rings" are really pieces of art, which could also stand alone without the huge story surrounding them. We're also trying to use these deeply melancholic and mythic poems independently from "The Lord of the Rings" for our songs. You won't find any elves or dwarves in our lyrics but you will surely be able to find exactly the same kind of longing for a different world you have in Tolkien's poems. If you have the time, check out his poems "The Sea Bell" and "The Last Ship". They aren't included in "The Lord of the Rings" but are absolutely amazing.

WC: Lets talk about "The Golden Bough" now, How long did it take to put it together because it is a rather complex album?

MT: We didn't really work on a regular basis on the album. The main problem was getting the band together to record the songs. Some of the music is already 3 years old or even older, so we had plenty of time to work on all the details. The songs were basically finished when we entered the studio to record them, which saved us a lot of time.

WC: The band has a very eclectic range of styles all interwoven within your songs from classic metal to epic-doom to progressive rock as well. Do any of these styles play more of a role within the bands song-writing than the others ?

MT: Yes, we consider us a heavy metal band first and foremost. But due to our personal listening preferences you will always be able to discover hints of doom metal, progressive rock and epic metal in our music.

WC: Can we get more specific with the band's lyrics. What are some of the lyrical themes contain on the latest album ?

MT: The lyrics are loosely based on James Frazier's book "The Golden Bough" and deal with the relationship of magic and religion in the mythologies of Europe. Frazier believed that all forms of religion in Europe had their origin in neolithic fertility cults revolving around the sacrifice and resurrection of a sacred king. Frazier believed that one could still find traces of this ancient cult in Christianity, in old folk-tales, in occult systems and in the mythologies of Europe in general. We tried to tackle a few of his ideas in our songs. For instance, "Pilgrim" is based on a local folk-tale of a king sleeping in a mountain but waiting for his rebirth.

WC: Atlantean Kodex are one of the dying breed of old-school metal bands. In other words a band that still cares about concepts and stylish music played with finesse and class. Is there still much of a demand for such music in your part of the world ? It seems to be making a slight comeback here but still most bands just want to be like another Slayer !

MT: No, it's actually the same over here. At least, kind of. On one hand you've got all these faceless standardized Deathcore, Brutal Death and what-not bands, and then on the other hand you've got all these trend-hopping ex-Black metallers who are now raping Doom Metal with their idiotic satanic mumbo-jumbo. This is the latest trend over here: start a retro-doom band, create an occult image with pseudonyms, fancy make-up, etc., and sell a shitload of albums because people don't seem to see through the facade (Believe he might be talking about Ghost...Mality). It's actually the same thing that happened to Black Metal in the mid-90's. In parts, it's even the same people playing in these occult doom metal bands now who already ruined Black Metal in the 90's with their shenanigans.

WC: It was a long time between albums for the band, what was the reason for this and how long will we have to wait for another album ?

MT: Well, the main thing was to get the band together for the recordings. Like I already said above, the band for us is just a hobby. We don't have the pressure of trying to finish an album by 2012 or something like that. This gives us the freedom to work on the songs as long as we want to. I really don't know when the next album will be released. In fact, I don't know if there will be a next album at all!(It would be criminal if there wasn't one!--Dr. Mality)

WC: We must also talk about reviews for the new album, it has got critical acclaim on every website I have seen. It must be very gratifying to get such positive reactions ?

MT: Yeah, it sure is. You know, were expecting the album to appeal to a certain "underground" crowd, the same people who already bought our demo. But we never thought that also the more "mainstream" crowd and even the big magazines would love the album. This is a great feeling, of course!

WC: Is there any plans for a tour for the album ?

MT: No, but we'll play a couple of shows in 2011. Confirmed so far are the Rock Hard Festival, where we play together with Agent Steel, Triptykon, Overkill and Anacrusis. Then we'll play "Hammer of Doom V" together with Pentagram, Solstice and While Heaven Wept.  Other than that, nothing is confirmed yet but I guess there will be at least three more shows in different parts of Europe. We also would love to play the USA one day!

WC: The album is very atmospheric,.Did you use any special recording techniques to achieve such a vibe ?

MT: Yes, indeed! The big secret is that we didn't use any artificial sounds for the drums and the guitars. No triggers, no quantization, etc. This gives the music a raw and natural edge and makes it feel more alive. Regarding the mix, we tried to go for a "live" mix with all the instruments on roughly the same level as opposed to a classic rock/pop mix with the drums and the vocals being the lead instruments. This adds a lot of depth to the music and helps to invoke that feeling of striding across vast, monumental landscapes under towering clouds of grey while a cold, salty seawind blows straight into your face, bringing dreams of distant white shores, green fields and blue mountains, where the temples of forgotten kings dream under the eternal starlight. And it makes you wanna drink beer, bang your head and smash things, too!

WC: Atlantean Kodex seems to be carrying on a heavy-metal tradition left over from the 80's... what is it about that era that you find so special ?

A: We think, the music was more "honest" and energetic back then. Today you've got all these digital studio tools which can make even the most crappiest of bands sound like metal gods. Everything sounds so standardized and so McDonaldized today...fake drums, digital guitars, plastic sounds. Everything sounds the same. Back then you could hear that there were musicians with passion behind the songs, you could hear that the songs were handmade and not created on a computer and you could feel the rage, the power, the glory...everything heavy metal is about. Today's metal is friendly, funny, nice, ironic, know, like Manowar said: "wear a polyester suit, act happy, look cute, get a haircut and buy small gear". Back then, metal was ugly, loud and obnoxious and made you go up to your boss and say "Fuck you and your system! My generation knows better than you!" Today, the only message I get is "buy this, buy that, consume, consume...."

WC: What newer bands have you been listening to and are any of these bands a influence on Atlantean Kodex ?

MT: The best newer bands around to me are ASOMVEL (UK), STRIKER (CAN), DARK FOREST (UK), THE LAMP OF THOTH (UK), ARKHAM WITCH (UK), PROCESSION (CHI), VANDERBUYST (NL) and MOUNTAIN THRONE (D). But I can't really say that we were influenced by any of them.  I rather consider them brothers who are fueled by the same traditions we are drawing from for our music.

WC: That is all the questions for now, any last words for the readers ?

MT: Thanks for the interview! And thanks to everyone who supported us now and in the past. In our eyes you're immortal!

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