THE CODEX – The Codex

THE CODEX - The Codex
  • 8/10
    THE CODEX - The Codex - 8/10


Frontiers Records
Release date: November 9, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Codex is a brand new project that has been put together by none other than Mr. Mark Boals. This marks his return to the music scene after a 3-year hiatus. He is known as one of the best singers to ever to work with Yngwie Malmsteen (vocalist on 5 albums ranging from 1986-2000) and has received numerous accolades along the way for his impressive voice. One such recognition awarded to him was Best Overall Singer of the Year in 1999 by the readers of Burrn! Magazine.

This new collaboration, The Codex, began with Swedish guitar wizard and keyboardist Magnus Karlsson, who is the mastermind behind the band Starbreaker (with Tony Harnell). Completing the lineup for The Codex are Linus Abrahamson on bass and Daniel Flores on drums. This new project of Boals together with Karlsson is entering uncharted waters for the both of them. This new release, while being both creative and diverse, in so many ways showcases a new and very different side of Karlsson’s songwriting abilities. At the same time, Boals is given a chance to show why he has received such accolades for his singing voice in the past. This CD has Mark singing some of his heaviest vocals to date and is probably the heaviest CD that both Boals and Karlsson have collaborated on together. The unique thing about this new CD is the fact that while it has components of a Heavy Metal album, it retains the essence of a Melodic Metal album, which was its original intended purpose.

Right from the opening song “Beyond the Dark,” it is very obvious that this CD will be something special. Magnus’s guitar playing smacks you right in the face with such ferocity, and the complementary bass and drum work is done with such tandem that one can’t help but be overwhelmed by its sound. The other thing is that Mr. Boals lets it be known that he is back to stay with an incredible start. It’s hard to pinpoint one song and say that Mark is better on this track than any other on this CD – in fact he is great on every track.

It is hard to call this CD Melodic at times, the proof for example is the third track “Toxic Kiss.” Ninety-eight percent of it is as heavy as hell except for a few moments of some keyboard work that is a bit Melodic in the true sense. Going from one track to the next and listening to Magnus’ guitar playing is a pleasure. Not only does he add a beautiful and refreshing sound to this CD, his playing is stellar throughout. You couldn’t ask for more. This project of Boals proves that he has an ear for music and musical talent as well. His selection of musicians in this case receives nothing but praise all around.

“Running Out Of Hate” is a bit different in the sense that whatever effects Magnus uses or however he tunes his guitar, the sound he produces on this track is quite unique and can’t be overlooked. It has such a great sound and makes this track stand out among the bunch. His guitar solo is a definite highlight and even sounds like a keyboard just before he really gets into it. For a second, the start of “Dream Makers” has you believing that this will be another heavy track, but it mellows out quickly enough to remain in line with the Melodic overtone of the album. “Whole Again” begins with some beautiful piano and has a ballad type feeling to it, but beefed up a bit. “Mistress Of Death” incorporates a heavy attitude, especially since this is the first track where the double-bass drumming is quite pronounced and easily heard throughout. You have some of the best drumming in this tune, and not only that, there is another one of Magnus’ wonderful solos to cap things off. Even though Mark shines vocally on every song, “Prisoner” is probably his strongest effort. “You Can Have It All” is another tune that is a combination of Melodic/Metal and is one of the highlights of this album — hear it for yourself!

The closing tune is “Garden Of Grief” and begins with a very nice piano piece. It quickly turns heavy right after that, then back to a combo of some keys and heavy guitar riffs. It has a very interesting arrangement to it and qualifies as another highlight among the bunch.

The 12 tracks come in at 69 minutes and have a little of everything for the true Power/Prog/Melodic/Metal fan. From the overall sound of the entire CD, one thing is certain: this may be the bands first album, but it certainly won’t be their last. At least you should hope not — there is so much more to look forward to from the band.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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