Mausoleum [Release date 25.02.13]
Put together by Eden’s Curse bassist Paul Logue, Code Of Silence - if this debut album is anything to go by - is surely a band on the cusp of great things.
Fronted by Brazilian vocalist Gus Monsanto (Adagio, Symbolica, Lord Of Mushrooms) and featuring the exceptional guitar work of ex-Power Quest plank spanker Ben Randall, Code Of Silence have taken the ‘melodic metal’ genre outside and given it a damn good kicking.
Loosely based around the concept of the Knights Templar during the period of the Crusades, ‘Dark Skies Over Babylon’ is a truly genre-bending tour de force, which, whilst having melodic metal at its heart, makes frequent forays into the diverse worlds of progressive rock, heavy metal, shred and (dare we say it) even a little commercial sensitivity.
The eleven tracks get underway with ‘Omerta’ a piano-led scene-setter with just that hint of menace, which meekly surrenders to the tooth-loosening guitar riffage and pounding drum salvoes of ‘Bitter Sweet Paradise’, its surprisingly radio-friendly chorus being one of the many highlights here.
‘Sky Is Falling Down’ is next up – its infectious guitar riff and Monsanto’s Ronnie James Dio-like vocals pushing it toward selection as the first single off the album.
Things get seriously good on ‘Tame The Tempest’, probably the best track on the album and an opportunity for Randall to thrust himself forward as the new guitar hero for the next generation. Plenty of raw meat for guitar wannabes to get their teeth into and an absolute shoo-in for Riff Of The Year.
And just when you think ‘let me up, I’ve had enough’, along comes the title track ‘Dark Skies Over Babylon’ – a piano-led power ballad of the highest order with a killer chorus and some finger-snapping fretwork which also manages to sidestep the retch-inducing sentimentality that often plagues such songs.
The highlights continue with the ominous guitar of ‘Black Abyss’, the fabulous drum work on ‘Knights Of The Crimson Cross’, the church organ intro of ‘Midnight Cathedral’ right through to the closing piano figure of ‘Here To Heaven’.
Taken in the round, this is a fabulous rock album. The band are as tight as a gnat’s chuff, and whilst Monsanto and Randall will (deservedly) take the plaudits, keysman Scott McLean and the engine room of drummer John Clelland and bassman James Murray deserve much more than a mere mention in dispatches.
This would be a five star album for an established band at the top of rock’s pecking order. As a debut album it’s simply stunning. *****
Review by Alan Jones
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