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I wish to speak to you today about the tragedy of Europe." So begins the speech sample from English PM Sir Winston Churchill that opens "Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown (An Anthem for Europa), the fifth track on the White Goddess (A Grammar of Poetic Myth). Indeed, the entire concept of Germany's Atlantean Kodex is expressly European in nature-from the classically influenced melodies, to the lyrics and concepts that inspire the towering, grandiose heaviness of the songs, on through the band's use of German Romantic Caspar David Friedrich's "Monk by the Sea" as cover art. Continuing on from the band's previous album, 2010's near-universally praised the Golden Bough, Atlantean Kodex build upon their sound to achieve an album like no other in 2013. Many bands and labels lay claim to the word "epic" to describe a particular sound, but on the White Goddess, Atlantean Kodex embodies the term in a way very few others could imagine. Drawing from traditional heavy metal, doom and Norse metal, the White Goddess showcases their strongest songwriting, lyrical, vocal performance and production yet, already nearly without equal on their previous LP. Unequivocally, the White Goddess is the best pure heavy metal record of 2013. Self-described as falling somewhere between Twilight of the Gods-era Bathory, early Manowar (Ross the Boss-era) and other classic US bands like Fates Warning, Cirith Ungol and Warlord, Atlantean Kodex retains a singular modernity and heaviness via their incredible production and recording techniques, and through singer Markus Becker, who has the naturally blessed pipes to rival the best heavy metal vocalists past or present. There is no irony or pretense in their music; like last year's Pallbearer debut album, Atlantean Kodex plays deeply reverent and devoted heavy metal with an emphasis on superior, timeless songcraft. 20 Buck Spin is very proud to present this monument of True Heavy Metal, representing Atlantean Kodex's first domestic label release in North America; a collection of perhaps the most memorable songs ever released by the label.