Codex is a Dutch band that plays a more straightforward brand of progressive metal. The arrangements on their debut album “The Peace Paradox” are stripped down to the basics of guitar, bass and drums with vocals. The complexity comes from the riffs themselves which, even though the songs are not what you might consider proggy, are very clever and, at times, quite involved.
As I always say, an album should always be about the songs regardless of how they are arranged or executed. If your songs are crap, it really doesn’t matter how well you play them! Codex are very gifted musically and the songs are quite good from a music standpoint. Check out the riffing on the opening track “Heat of War” or the next track “The Peace Paradox.” The riffs are fast and tricky. The riff on “Hollow Meat” is a very melodic riff, which is welcome since at times the riffs tend to blend together.
My issues tend to be with the lyrics and the vocals. When using a higher range vocalist Rhodan ten Kleij sounds great, but there are times like on the track “Social Pressure” where he uses a lower voice and it just doesn’t work for me. Lyrically, the album is about war and all the bad things in our world. It’s been done and these lyrics really don’t add anything new to the discussion. I suppose it’s telling that my favorite track is the instrumental “The Arithmetic Mean.”
All in all, “The Peace Paradox” is a very solid and well produced album, by former Cynic guitarist Tymon Kruidenier. As debut albums go, I think it shows talent and maturity. I will definitely keep an eye on Codex. Hopefully, they continue to grow and separate themselves more musically from other metal bands.
1. Heat of War
2. The Peace Paradox
3. Social Pressure
4. Hollow Meat
6. Beginning (Made for It)
7. Perfect Dancer
8. The Arithmetic Mean