"The White Goddess" (A Grammar of Poetic Myth)

By Dr. Abner Mality

There is epic and then there is the next step up, which is Atlantean Kodex. A band dealing with 10,000 years of European history and mythology, they take all the time necessary to cover such a massive subject. Grindcore fans need not bother with these Germans, as one of their songs equals a whole LP of  that genre. But if you think a mixture of "Nightfall"-era Candlemass, early Manowar and Viking-era Bathory with extra-long songs might be up your alley, then this could be the band for you.

Lush, heavy and extremely melodic, Atlantean Kodex make no apologies about their style. You have to accept them as they because they are obviously not going to change their approach. That makes them powerful and unique, but it also proves to be mighty exhausting over the course of "The White Goddess" and by the end of this journey, I was plumb tuckered out and ready to toss on some Municipal Waste.
But when these guys are at their peak, you seem to be almost physically transported back to the misty past of Europe. "The White Goddess" is a very sad album to listen to...a deep sorrow for the passing of classical European culture seems to permeate its every note. I can see some accusing A.K. of being some kind of "white power" epic doom metal band. I don't think that's the case at all, but there's no denying the "euro-centric" nature of this release.

As it is with some many albums today, the best stuff is at the beginning. After the stirring Viking-like intro "Trumpets in Doggerland", the first track "Sol Invictus" shows the band at their very best, with an almost perfect mix of old Candlemass and Manowar but even more ornate. The vocals of Markus Becker are really almost AOR style sweet and clear and I could imagine him singing for TNT or something like that. But these songs are huge and grandiose. Unfortunately, the album doesn't match the power of "Sol Invictus" again (although "Heresiarch" and "Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown" are very strong) and by the time we get to the last track "White Goddess Unveiled"", one is burned out on the long-winded pagan magnificence. This last song is just way too long and badly needed an edit of some kind.

Very, very few bands like Atlantean Kodex are in the scene today and that's both a strength and a curse. "The White Goddess" is as epic as traditional metal can get.