Nima : Over the years the Grecian warriors of Battleroar have grown out to be one of the top acts of the epic heavy metal movement. With every record the quintet has been perfecting its old-school, epic heavy metal in the vain of Manila Road, Omen, Cirith Ungol, and more recent acts/epic masters DoomSword, Wotan, Holy Martyr and co. and has developed a sound of its own. But the gentlemen aren’t exactly the most active band; in eighteen years they have "only" released four albums. The last album, ’Blood Of Legends’ on which singer Gerrit P. Mutz (a.o. Sacred Steel) made his debut, also dates back to 2014!
We have had to wait a long time for it, but the fifth long player, 'Codex Epicus', will finally be a fact this month. And again it was most definitely worth the wait. The gentlemen have fortunately not deviated from their distinctive sound and style and the album continues where they left off with 'Blood Of Legends'. Traditionally the band has again made progress on all fronts and has come with the superlative degree of the predecessor. The album has not only become more versatile, but the songwriting is simply even stronger and above all even more epic than before. They couldn’t have chosen a better title for the record either, because 'Codex Epicus' is without doubt the most epic that we have heard from these warriors so far. From the beautiful intro, 'Awakening The Muse', on the gentlemen create a dark, epic atmosphere that is maintained to the last tones of the album. And once the album takes off strongly with the heroic 'We Shall Conquer' after that, there is no way back and you are completely sucked into the magical world that is called 'Codex Epicus'.
Although the majority of the material is mid-tempo, this time the gentlemen come up with faster, more aggressive pieces more often, which makes the album – as said – sound more versatile, but also slightly darker and heavier. Battleroar has always stood for strong and highly catchy riffs and 'Codex Epicus' is also richly filled with that. On the previous album I initially had some difficulty with the lingering nature of some of the songs. Fortunately this is not the case with 'Codex Epicus'; despite the same dragging character and despite the fact that the album is even more epic than its predecessor, the songs are immediately catchy. However, the music again contains multiple layers, so that every spin is a new experience and even after several turns (in succession) the album still keeps its stand. Moreover, Mutz has also found his way around with Battleroar completely and comes a lot more into his own on this album and sets a strong performance. Personally, I think all songs are strong and all know their own highlights. With the aforementioned opener, and especially 'The Doom Of Medusa' and 'Enchanting Threnody', the album also contains a number of potential classics.
As a bonus we get the magnificent 'Stronghold' off the split with Omen from last year; a relatively fast track reminiscent of classic Omen. Mark Shelton of the legendary Manilla Road (who also made a guest appearance on the second album, ’The Age of Chaos’) also comes to rejoice us with his enchanting voice on 'Sword Of The Flame' ; a beautifully heavy and doomy song with a wonderfully dark atmosphere.
Finally, the record also meets all the sound technical quality requirements of today, making the record clear and contemporary, without the old-fashioned magic being lost. Altogether with 'Codex Epicus' we have one of the better epic heavy metal albums of the past years. This album will only strengthen and grow the band's position in the scene. In short; a must for the fans of the genre and the aforementioned colleagues and co.