After six years, they’ve finally deemed the world ready for their newest record, The Course of Empire. And, well, it sounds like Atlantean Kodex, which is to say, it’s fucking awesome. Loud, swaggering guitars and resounding percussion form a bombastic march, atop which lie soaring keyboards and belted vocals. To listen to Atlantean Kodex is to find oneself in the land of classical myth, to invoke the constellations and walk through their stories. One minute, you’re sitting at your computer, and the next you’re swept into the legends of yore. A dissection of how exactly Atlantean Kodex manages this arcane trick finds three components of roughly equal importance. The first lies in the moment-to-moment songwriting, the riffs and choruses and refrains and solos. The band makes almost-constant use of major key guitar harmonies (you may know these from every Iron Maiden song ever) that lend a sense of depth and grandeur to the melodies they deploy – which are already plenty majestic in their own right, pulling from the progressions and scales of European folk music for a timeless sound. The riffs are mostly on the faster end of mid-paced, which allows the band to gallop and move at a fair clip through movements within tracks without asking too much from the listener’s endurance (a great thing, too, considering the album’s 62-minute running time). The choruses are slow, enormous affairs, tidal waves of sound that demand immediate, unceasing, and total attention. The second ingredient in this potent brew is the overall pace of the band’s sound. Indeed, this might be the greatest strength Atlantean Kodex has in their collective sonic DNA: they have an excellent collective understanding of exactly how long is too long, and make sure to ride every riff, chorus, interlude, refrain, solo, what-have-you to that exact line where it’s given forth all it has to offer. That’s not to imply they only write in a linear structure – they practice a composition that almost feels ring-like and inspired by classical epic – but that they know exactly how to build, conserve, and transfer energy between movements within their songs to create something that feels constantly propulsive and still dynamic. They have a total mastery over progression and songcraft. The last core element of the sound of Atlantean Kodex is assuredly their style of production. Everything comes together in a manner that is huge, dominating, monumental: the drums are cavernous and booming, the guitars are towering monoliths of distortion, and the vocals reverberate and echo from the skies above. It’s strange to describe a metal band’s production style as a key part of their identity as a band, but hearing any of Atlantean Kodex’s songs immediately puts any doubt about the accuracy of this to rest.