Code - Augur Nox
Agonia Records
Blackened Progressive Metal
10 songs (51:08)
Release year: 2013
Agonia Records
Reviewed by Zadok

With a new vocalist and rhythm section, Code have taken steps forward and away from their past here. It's certainly the least black metal of their output to date, the influence reserved to the raw-sounding guitars and some of new guy Wacian's snarls – think something along the lines of Enslaved jamming with Borknagar with some of Solefald's unpredictability, and you're partway there. It's clearly a natural progression from 2009's Resplendent Grotesque, focusing on the songwriting and progressive elements to make something uncannily like latter-day Arcturus at times, although Code have enough of an avant-garde interest to make their songs far more dynamic and changing than Sideshow Symphonies was. And Code are their own band, presenting an original vision of complex dark prog metal that is easy to get into but with much underlying depth that will keep you coming back.

Interestingly, this is probably the most complex album that the band have made yet. Songs can change a lot over their three-to-seven minute running time (discounting the interludes), presenting brief catchy hooks or riffs and then meandering away into new terrain, keeping you hooked as they do. The opening song's title sums it up quite well – Black Rumination, a wander through mindscapes dark and terrifying. It's one of the few songs present to have a chorus, not that a chorus detracts from the quality, the band holding the hands of listeners but a little before shoving them off a cliff into their world. And although it's always perfectly listenable, as the groovy opening to Becoming Host and rambunctious blackened gallop of Ecdysis show, it's very heavy and underground-friendly – I can see fans of both lighter prog metal and darker black metal finding common ground here.

A lot of the credit has to go to sole original member Aort, whose songwriting and guitar playing is phenomenal, particularly in the latter half of the album where things turn darker and more atmospheric. The Lazarus Chord's seven minutes are especially good, a slow-burner that builds up to a lovely solo and ends with some acoustic strummage that sets up the following The Shrike Screw's opening drone. And it's all held together by Wacian, who is an excellent replacement for Kvohst – apparently the search for a new vocalist is why it's taken four years for a new Code album, and it was worth the wait. He can snarl and sing, and although not the most technical of singers his voice has plenty of personality and adds a lot – the harsh/light duet with himself, from clean-sung invocations to outright retching, is particularly excellent on Becoming Host and Glimlight Tourist. Good ingredients lead to a good meal, and Code offer plenty here to get your teeth into.

Killing Songs :
Black Rumination, Becoming Host, Ecdysis, Glimlight Tourist, The Lazarus Chord, White Triptych
Zadok quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Code that we have reviewed:
Code - Nouveau Gleaming reviewed by Zadok and quoted 84 / 100
Code - Resplendent Grotesque reviewed by Zadok and quoted 84 / 100
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