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Codex Mortis – What Befalls Of Tainted Souls Award winner

Codex Mortis
What Befalls Of Tainted Souls
by Will Travers at 27 April 2021, 1:51 PM

Black Metal has come in many forms throughout the years. From the eighties and MERCYFUL FATE, the nineties with WATAIN and BEHEMOTH. But what of the youth? What is cooking in the underground ready to take centre stage in arguably one of Heavy Metal’s largest subgenres. Well, let’s look to Utrecht in The Netherlands for CODEX MORTIS and their debut full length release “What Befalls Of Tainted Souls”. The artwork for the album is an interesting image and will make a good addition to anyone’s library for the art alone.

Opening is “Avernus”, and holy hell. Instant intensity, no punches pulled as the wall of music explodes to life. Aggressive and breathless riffs and rhythms drive the track forwards at a breakneck speed whilst the sublime vocals of Dirk really round the whole sound off. “Beguiled By The Devil” is much of the same, and it is just delightful, but what really stood this out for me was the dual harmonies within the guitar lines, the dissonance really added an ambience that just made the hair on my arms stand up.

That ambience continues into “The Drowned”. The music stepped back from some of the more modern stereotypes of untiring blast beats and aggressive shrieking vocals. Musically it’s a lot sturdier, in fact I would go as far as to say it is solid. The guitar tracking, my word, it is just a masterclass; steady thumping riffs and deft guitar licks running as accents to those solid foundations, Jeroen and Steven step up and take a bow, you’ve earned it. “Where The Skulls Reside” and “Nine-Headed Mare” are both great examples of the musical knowledge and capabilities of CODEX MORTIS. With both being in the established sound, but also being different. Check them out and let me know you think? I was getting shades of more Doom Metal in “Where The Skulls Reside” and also reiterations of that stereotypical Black Metal intensity in the latter.

I’m going to take a second to focus on what has to be the stand out track of the album; “Fallen”. Whilst it is not necessarily any better musically than any of the others, there is just this old school feeling to the music, it’s really got some bollocks about it. Something about this track resonated deep within me and that is the best gauge, I think for good music. Overall, as a complete album, I am absolutely in love with “What Befalls Of Tainted Souls”. CODEX MORTIS have managed to achieve and deliver, on their debut release no less, something that some bands work their entire careers to produce.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Avernus
2. Beguiled By The Devil
3. The Drowned
4. Where The Skulls Reside
5.Nine-Headed Mare
6. Fallen
7. It Was Satan Who She Served
8. Tainted Soul
Dirk Willems – Vocals
Jeroen Van Aernsbergen – Guitar
Steven Van Lint – Guitar
Mathieu Westerveld – Bass
Alex Schollema – Drums
Record Label: Vidar Records


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Edited 14 May 2021

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