Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Atlantean Kodex - The Golden Bough

Atlantean Kodex
The Golden Bough
Cruz del Sur

The Golden Bough, the latest record from Atlantean Kodex, is a concept album that uses a story of Atlantis to talk about the pagan/ Neolithic magic roots of European Christianity and how it all relates to peace, love, community and equality for all mankind. Got all that? Me neither. But the kind of epic metal the German quintet proffers here is more about the color and the pageantry than the storytelling, and the band certainly has that down. Huge, soaring melodies, arrangements so widescreen your local Imax theater couldn’t hold them, twin guitar harmonies painted on every surface, a clean-voiced singer who somehow avoids histrionics – these are the things that make The Golden Bough interesting. Disciples of the Iron Crown, The Atlantean Kodex (yes, the band named itself after one of its own songs) and Temple of Katholic Magick are meant to be enjoyed while holding one’s head high, swinging one’s arms about dramatically and lip-synching passionately, one foot on the nearest monitor (or ottoman, whichever) – any philosophical underpinnings will just have to sink in over time. Hell, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re better off reading Sir James George Frazer’s original tome anyway – The Golden Bough is best served by epic headbanging, rather than furrow-browed contemplation.

- Michael Toland

The Might Could - s/t

The Might Could
Small Stone

After the rather sudden and sadly unheralded demise of the great Alabama Thunderpussy in 2008, I wondered how long it would take sparkplug Erik Larson to start something new and, given the eclectic nature of his solo records, what it would sound like. The answers can be found on this here self-titled debut from the Might Could. Taking on the lead vocals (am I the only one who wonders why he didn’t do that in ATP with all their lead singer troubles?), Larson doesn’t stray that far off the thrashgrunge path ATP pioneered – anybody who digs Staring at the Divine will get a familiar buzz from the blazing Stone Colossus and Coming Clean and the slow grind of The Widower. But Larson’s apparently been giving his old blues records a few spins in his down time, as he and fellow picker TJ Childers add plenty of Dixie boogie to Let ‘em Up Easy, Wretched Wraith and the blatantly Skynyrd-baiting When the Spirits Take Control. Put it all together with The Night They Shoot Ol’ Dixie Down, The Fall and I Don’t Even Like Pantera Anymore (and why should you?) and you’ve got a wickedly thunderous jug of riff-mongering metal moonshine that’ll peel the skin right off your buttocks. The loss of ATP was a shame, but the rise of the Might Could makes it all better.

- Michael Toland
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