Code – Augur Nox

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When entering into the riveting realm of Augur Nox the new album form UK metallers Code, be prepared to give it a copious amount of time and attention for the reaping of its breath-taking imagination rifling and passion igniting rewards. Though not a hard listen, the release is structured with such rich and extensive textures aligned to a presentation which is as exhausting as it is incendiary for thoughts and emotions that it takes numerous bold endeavours to fully understand and explore its intensive majesty. Both band and album show that a carnivorous intent and confrontation can be as seductive as an intensive melodic coaxing, an essence Code also employ ingeniously within each tempestuous persuasion upon the release.

The successor to their acclaimed 2009 album Resplendent Grotesque, the band’s third full-length release is the first with the new line-up of guitarists Aort and Andras, bassist Syhr, drummer LORDt, and vocalist Wacian who replaced the departing Kvohst (Hexvessel) last year. Formed in 2001 by Aort and Kvohst to create their own aspect of black metal, the band soon drew attention with the Neurotransmission demo of the following year and more so with debut album Nouveau Gloaming in 2005 and the previously mentioned Resplendent Grotesque. With a sound which strides across multiple genres defying all labelling, Code has taken it all to another level with the exceptional Augur Nox. There is a more progressive rock infiltration to the ever black shadowed emotional and physical exploration as well as an intensity bred which though from the same provocative well as before leaves no emotion and atom of air lacking intrusive intimidation.

The Agonia Records released Augur Nox opens with a relatively straight black metal causticity and coaxing as Black CODE AUGUR NOX COVERRumination emerges from a rhythmic invitation. The harsh vocals of Wacian scowl from within a cage of rhythmic military antagonism, rabidity drenched riffs, and an acidic enticement from the guitars; the band revelling in its rapacious provocation before spreading through a magnetic progressive tempest. The front man brings even greater commanding presence once clean tones and expressive textures stalk his delivery, whilst around him the guitars sculpt a riveting web of sonic enterprise and evocative temptation within a just as compelling rhythmic cage.  The predatory bass sound conjured by  Syhr is another delicious toxicity within the fire, the song evolving into a masterful and magnificent incitement for imagination and emotions with a unique presence which can be best described as Dødheimsgard meets KingBathmat.

The atmospheric black metal/avant-garde/ progressive alchemy continues with the same potency through the following Becoming Host and its stunning successor Ecdysis. The first has an element of Killing Joke to its senses stretching and cantankerous body, again clean vocals an immense persuasion and compliment to the ever shifting prowl of the devouring sounds. Heavy groove metal teasing spirals throughout the absorbing violation to temper yet encourage the ever present predation which acts as a provocateur across the song, whilst a more alternative metal coaxing only accentuates the near bestial hunger of the energy and narrative. The second of the pair takes that predatory intensity and intent to greater irresistible levels, the merger of sonic pestilence and rhythmic barbarism to a progressive experimentation a virulent and uncompromising but exhilarating creative squall. There is so much going on within tracks that we can only give a loud whisper of the invention and exhausting imagination at work within Augur Nox, a turbulent ingenuity at large which cannot be appreciated and truly unearthed through a mere singular or limited number of flights through its cyclonic creative landscape, though even one traverse certainly awakens the listener to something special.

     Glimlight Tourist is the next stunning peak on the merciless flight of innovative adventure, an air of Enslaved and Ihsahn washing the mouth-watering confrontational blaze. Clean vocals again make the strongest suasion whilst the guitars sculpt a senses entwining melody prompted covetous aggressive snarl which forges an unbridled addiction in the passions. Individual in its own menacing yet seducing mix of savagery and melodic beauty, Garden Chancery equally stokes that rampant hunger for the release and invention, the track an esurient consumption of the imagination through sonic manipulation, groove driving infectiousness, and blackened spite.

The likes of The Lazarus Chord where the bass again is an insidious and delicious pestilence behind the melodramatic and emotionally investigative journey, and The Shrike Screw which croons at and tantalises the ears with a seductive malevolence and inventive expanse, only entrance and challenge the listener further whilst the towering Trace of God breeds a new greed with its rich bordering on abusive passion and drama.

The closing pair of Harmonies in Cloud and White Triptych, admittedly without quite reaching the heights already forged but still creating their own slice of compelling excellence, complete what is an exceptional release. Never less than impacting and strikingly provocative, Code has unleashed their strongest and finest challenge yet with Augur Nox, an album which has more rewards that a store club card if the listener is willing to tread its flaming course, something we whole heartedly recommend.

https://www.facebook.com/codeblackmetal

9.5/10

RingMaster 27/11/2013

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