Atlantean Kodex – The White Goddess (2013)

The White Goddess

When presumption is on the rise and Christian creed fades away
When the crucifix is torn from walls and banished to the grave
When the red coats march the new roads, our frontline the Danube
When pestilence is raging, the great cleansing is near

Atlantean Kodex, Enthroned In Clouds And Fire

The White Goddess is one of the most important metal albums of the last fifteen years. For the immaculate lesson in epic heavy metal songwriting that it is, yes, but more crucially, for the peripheral potential for inspiration that it so abundantly holds. A consummate marriage between music and spoken word isn’t new to our genre but rare is the occasion when lyrical narrative and music entwine with real intensity and relevance for the contemporary time. What a glorious union then when this does happen, when meaningful poetry and metal stay in step, enhancing cadence and bringing each other out in full relief.

Atlantean Kodex might frown at being called a politically-sensitive band, but their second album indirectly addresses or at the very least directs one’s mind towards several contentious issues currently holding court in Europe. From austerity-induced debacles to dissent over centralized European government, the seething Muslim refugee time bomb, and in the backdrop dwindling Christianity supplanted by a milquetoast, passionless, non-committal atheism, the old continent finds itself in a seemingly unarrestable tailspin and singularly unfit to face today’s novel challenges.

The codex tells of days to come, of winter without end
Who’s left to tell our story as rose clouds of ash descend
Fortress Europa falling, none left to defend
Enthroned in clouds and fire, ancient harbinger of the end

Atlantean Kodex are alive to this, their environment and inheritance, and to the history that has shaped it. That they express their observations with a musical scope, poise, and sense of allegory virtually unrivaled in the modern epic heavy metal genre means that their thornier assertions are swept under a rug of eloquence, but to this listener, the same iron conviction serves to separate this band from all others. Not only do they take their art and their heritage seriously, but they demand – not implore, not exhort, but outright demand- that their listeners take themselves seriously, in what is a revitalizing shift of paradigm in a genre that becomes more cartoon-like with every passing year.

The White Goddess borrows its title from Robert Graves’ sprawling study of  European poetry, paganism, and mythology. In keeping with the source, Atlantean Kodex employ a wide range of lyrical devices, both historical and from lore and fiction, to emphasize the original point made by Graves, that history and myth are inextricably linked to each other. We consider as given that the present is shaped by the past, and yet we summarily dismiss mythology as the phantasmagorical playthings of our cruder ancestry. Graves, and Atlantean Kodex, urge us to the contrary, to peel back the layers and discover an obscured wisp of reality encoded in skillful imagination.

There is pride in this unraveling, and Atlantean Kodex make it palpable in their music. Nothing but the most stirring and awesome of canvasses will do to realize their thematic ambitions, so to that end the band chooses tropes from classic bands like Iron Maiden, Bathory, Solitude Aeternus, Solstice, and Gods Tower; and yet the grand result is something entirely unique, solemn, and as sacred as anything these bands may have done at the peak of their powers.

This feeling of the sacred, of being in the presence of something momentous, has confronted me every time I have heard The White Goddess. No doubt Atlantean Kodex play up to their epic billing, but experienced listeners have heard enough to appreciate the extra-phenomenal when it makes an appearance. It carries a natural harmony and economy of proportion, at first more intuited than dissected, an apprehension that washes over the recipient in successive waves of an-awakening-by-degrees until he tentatively approaches a very curious singularity with the state of mind that might have created this music to begin with.

Sol, Sol Invictus
Shining guardian of the West
In saecula saeculorum
Conquer with fire and with faith

Atlantean Kodex, Sol Invictus

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2 Responses to Atlantean Kodex – The White Goddess (2013)

  1. neutronhammer says:

    Thanks for the review, i feel slightly silly singing along to them, especially say Pilgrim or 12 stars but it seems to strike a real chord and i have found myself welling up more than once.

    Have you given Dark forest, the english band a listen?

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