Serenity keeps its songs short and sweet on Codex Atlantis. One of my main grips with progressive and symphonic metal bands are the tedious song lengths. That is not the case on this record, as every track is under six minutes. Thus, the songs are fairly dynamic and never drag. The driving “Follow Me” pushes along with simple riffs and clean vocals. The stringed instruments and choir samples add to the uplifting feel of this song. Things get heavier on “Sprouts of Terror” which opens with a trashy riff leading to an explosive symphonic crescendo. This is a headbanging piece designed specifically to incite a circle pit. The bombastic “Iniquity” is the antithesis of the track’s title. It is majestic and regal with a stirring guitar solo. The tranquil piano and violins on “My Final Chapter” contrast with the morbid subject of death on this track. Here, the narrator is ready to sleep eternally and the end is a peaceful one. The peace abrutply ends on “Caught in a Myth” with its galloping riffs and hard hitting horn samples. The occult lyricism on this song regarding the search for truth complements the epicness of the composition.
Codex Atlantis is a strong record because of the song compositions. The tracks are well written and do not deviate into Pretentious Prog Land. You will not hear Serenity play the same riff for 8 minutes and call it “prog metal” on this record. The production is crystal clear and frontman Georg Neuhauser’s vocals are a highlight on this record. The classical samples are so good it sounds like a real symphony played on this record. The band also successfully balances its metal sound with symphonic flair.
Progressive metal fans will enjoy Codex Atlantis. It is a good record with some great tracks and solid musicianship. It may be too soft for people that prefer their metal with blast beats and guttural vocals. However, the band knows what its fanbase wants and it delivers.
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