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Codex (The) - s/t 4/5

Reviewed: 2-29-08


1. Beyond the dark
2. Raise your hands
3. Toxic kiss
4. Bring down the moon
5. Running out of hate
6. Dream makers
7. Whole again
8. Mistress of death
9. Mystery
10. Prisoner
11. You can have it all
12. Garden of grief

The Codex is a new Swedish band formed by popular musicians who have experience in other bands. For starters, Mark Boals is the vocalist, and as many of you already know, he's an ex-Yngwie Malmsteen singer and he also currently fronts the neo-classical metal band Ring of Fire, who have 3 solid CDs under their belt (to date). In addition, Magnus Karlsson is both the guitarist and keyboard player, and he's definitely a favorite of mine, as he's a part of the super-project Planet Alliance and was also a member of the defunct Last Tribe, who blessed us with 3 excellent melodic metal CDs. As for the drums, we get Daniel Florest, who some of you may know from Fatal Force or Hubi Meisel, but those bands are a bit too light for me and I don't have them. Only bassist Linus Abrahamson is unfamiliar to me, but he's apparently a part of the progressive rock/metal band Mister Kite.

So it's no surprise that The Codex's 's/t' debut is melodic metal, in line with bands like Leverage, Cloudscape, maybe Timeless, and especially Planet Alliance and Last Tribe. There are background keys and plenty of cool guitar solos, but there aren't really any of the neo-classical elements, so don't expect Ring of Fire here folks. There is also very little speed, though there aren't a lot of slow parts either. Really, this is fairly pure melodic metal of the mid-paced variety, with just a few hard rock moments, and if you're a fan of Planet Alliance and Last Tribe, you know what to expect.

As for the quality, you get what you're hoping for - classy and very well played melodic metal from experienced musicians who know how to write catchy and memorable songs with sing-a-long choruses, that all hover around 5 or 6 minutes and contain similar structures. There is nothing average, nothing boring, and I'm not kidding when I say every song on this CD is a winner. Admittedly, there are a few songs that contain verses that are unspectacular, but even those songs come together at the choruses. My favorite song is the passionate and memorable track 7 "Whole again", but it's hard to pick favorites from a CD that is consistently excellent.

One of things that makes music so special for me is the variety. Sure, I'm a power metal freak at heart and will always be one, but the true key to my enjoyment is the sub-genres or other genres. Whether it's progressive power metal, true/traditional metal, neo-classical power metal, thrashy/heavier power metal or pure melodic metal, I've always got something I'm in the mood for. If you're a major melodic metal fan and have (and enjoy) the aforementioned bands (especially Last Tribe and Planet Alliance), this is an absolute no-brainer. If you're like me and just dabble in melodic metal, this is highly recommended to you as well.




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