Feature: Albums that time forgot … CODE OF SILENCE – Dark Skies Over Babylon

CODE OF SILENCE - Dark Skies Over Babylon

Mausoleum Records (Europe) Rubicon (Japan) (2013)

Described by GRTR! reviewer Alan Jones as ‘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.’

Code Of Silence was launched at a time when the industry was blighted by the world economic crash and slowly emerging from recession.  Labels were reluctant to invest in new bands.

With little promotion, this largely explains why – in spite of great reviews – the album was almost lost without trace.

The band were brought together by Paul Logue, better known as the mainman in melodic metallers Eden’s Curse.  He sought a vehicle for aspiring guitar hero Ben Randall who had impressed him in the band Power Quest as well as giving an outlet to his friend James Murray (bass) and his own excellent songwriting which couldn’t be fully realised in his own band.

To complete the line-up, Paul chose Brazilian vocalist Gus Monsanto who had worked with the French metal band Adagio amongst others, a Scottish drummer John Clelland, and fellow Scot Scott McLean on keyboards who also had a band called Falloch.

The album is a mix of progressive, metal and classic rock flavours, at times evoking Iron Maiden, Dokken and Dream Theater.  All these bands were influences for the constituent band members.  Whilst there was a linking theme throughout – inspired by the story of the Knights Templar – the album songs could be enjoyed in their own right.

This especially applied to the title track which could be interpreted as a love song and deployed a typically face-melting solo from Randall and – in an alternative version – some superb vocals from Joanna Ruiz.  She’d been brought in by fellow vocalist Pete Newdeck (Eden’s Curse, Tainted Nation, Blood Red Saints) who also contributed harmonies.

Logue had two early songs mixed in the States by Fred Sladkey and these appear as bonus tracks on the Japanese release, providing a slightly different vibe to the final mixdown which was supervised by the now Frontiers Records house producer Alessandro Del Vecchio.  The Japanese advance financed the band’s only video, filmed in a disused church in Glasgow, which encapsulates “what might have been”.

The album was released on the semi-legendary Mausoleum label, based in Belgium, but the label boss -  the late Alfie Falckenbach – failed to get behind a projected single edit of the title track which may have garnered the band wider attention.  With hindsight it may have merely been the timing.

Paul Logue also disbanded Eden’s Curse and dropped out of the music business for a while;  he is currently working on an album with Dream Theater’s James LaBrie (and also announced that Eden’s Curse had reformed).  John Clelland had been drafted in as Eden’s Curse drummer before that band’s demise whilst Scott McLean had already left Code Of Silence before it dissolved to concentrate on his own music and production work before moving to Germany.  Singer Gus Monsanto continues to crop up as a singer on various metal projects (including Human Fortress) whilst there are plans to release a Ben Randall compilation which will include instrumental versions of selected Code Of Silence tracks.

‘Dark Skies Over Babylon’ is marked by superior songwriting and stellar playing throughout.  It will appeal to all those who like thoughtful, engaging, melodic rock and deserves a much wider audience.  Paul Logue’s vision was fully formed, even if circumstances dictated that the band would never fully realise their own ambition.

David Randall

Album review (2013)
Album review (Ben Randall, 2021)

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.

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