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Devoid, I can’t feel a soul in here. - 55%

Diamhea, April 2nd, 2014

Want competently delivered yet wholly pyrrhic melodic death neatly telegraphed via the timeworn Finnish formula of redundancy? Codeon's got your number. Listen as the otherwise talented Raatikainen and Sartanen completely shortchange themselves and deliver everything you've come to expect from the genre - and less! Did you dig Sartanen's ripe leads and chunky riffs in Naildown? Always wonder how and why Raatikainen landed the coveted spot behind Suiçmez in Necrophagist? Well, continue burning the midnight oil as you pick your brain regarding these queries, because if Codeon does one thing well on Source, they neatly squeeze by without offending or enthralling on virtually any level. Nothing of value comes out of the whole ordeal, and although Codeon proves that they are competent enough regarding the tools of their seditious trade, the eternal question of "Why bother?" lingers.

Take Kalmah's rhythm section, Made of Hate's bellowing vocals, and Mors Principium Est's wonky leadwork. Mix until satisfied with genre indifference and spread as thinly as possible. To avoid tension and release, Codeon makes sure to avoid committing themselves too significantly to either end of the spectrum. This ends up being one of Source's biggest faults, as the band actually proves that they can pull off both melodic excess and heavier Morbid Angel worship rather well if pressured. Codeon fleets with both extremes far too sparingly though, instead coasting by somewhere in between in an attempt at playing it safe. The band sparingly delivers some busy cookers of passages thanks primarily to Varon's blasting, but the dull luster of the leads always drags the proceedings back down to Earth before anything of value is gained.

The leads are almost universally atonal and rather droning. One could chalk this up to a stylistic decision on the band's part, but melodic death metal generally needs some hooks in order to function at it's highest levels. Source drops the ball on the melodic front, instead letting the dessicated riffs carry the bulk of the appeal. "Destination Decoder" is a good example of the pattern prevalent here. Varon delivers some solid blasting out of the gates, during which the guitars have it working - then everything simply devolves into a cacophony once Mattila comes in. It's hard to put into words, but it just doesn't sound appealing at all. Add this to a glaring lack of variation (a bigger problem than one would realize) and it becomes difficult to give these Finns a pass.

Some of the coolest moments on Source are evoked by Mattila's animated vocals, which occasionally shift into a cool half-shout that reminds me of Made of Hate's Pathogen. I'm always a sucker for this style over featureless death grunting, as it usually remunerates the vocalist with some room to emote. It's not that the rest of his performance is lacking, because it certainly fits the style, but as stated above: variation is at a premium here. Codeon doesn't even try to pull the wool over the listener's eyes through the use of technical excess or scattershot tempo variation. It's almost like they have half-given up and just feel like rolling over and dying whenever anything novel is required of them. The performances contain both zeal and avidity, but their credibility is questionable.

I really don't know about this one. Source probably has some value as a decent gateway into the Scandinavian melodic death scene, which can be an incredibly overwhelming beast to assess at first due to multiple approach paths. Codeon's preclusion towards taking any risks probably irritates me more on principle than anything, as the music doesn't necessary suffer too much as a result. It's alright, but I prefer a little kick to the mouth every now and then.

The Source of all that is awesome - 98%

PhillCantu93, September 14th, 2010

If you've ever heard of Necrophagist, you've probably heard the name "Codeon" be tossed around once or twice. This is because Sami Raatikainen, Codeon's lead guitarist, is in this band. Never heard of Codeon? You've been deprived.

Source, their debut release, is loaded with all sorts of thrashing drums, brutal (yet also melodic) riffs, and a vocalist who has mastered the art of growling. One could argue that the sound is comparable to another melodeath band from Finland, called Mors Prinicipium Est (I recommend you check them out, too). It's melodic death metal in it's most brutal form. You'll have the riffs and choruses stuck in your head for a long time, and you'll be glad, too.

The album opens with "The Shrike", which serves as a template of what to expect from the rest of the album. You're served to a nice plateful of catchy, "thrashy" riffs as well as the vocalist's sick growling tone. On top of that, you get a very nice chorus riff with a melodic, classical-sounding lead guitar. The double bass in the drum department provides plenty of up-beat heaviness, and the dual solos at the end showcase the abilities of both guitarists.

So, with that said, you have a basic idea of what Codeon is about: catchy, brutal riffs with a severe emphasis on technical prowess whenever it may be appropriate. This is seen in such songs as "Humanity Inspection", "Shattermind", and my personal favorite, "Rebirth." Sami and Asko (the other guitarist) both do their respective roles properly and exceedingly well, though I personally wish that Asko did more solos. Sami is an absolute BEAST when it comes to utilizing sweep picking ("Sick From The Inside"), harmonic minor scales ("Shattermind") and tapping ("Deception"), but I'd like to hear more of what the other guy can do as well. Regardless, they're both great, and the music they dish out is phenomenal.

The drumming is very much diverse on this album, where it may be anything from thunderous double bass to simple 4/4 beats, to punk beats, to several variations of blast beats (even veering into hyper-blasts on "Rebirth"). The man is very talented behind the skins, and he knows how to keep it different, but consistent every time. I'd love to have him in my metal band. The only problem is, being this is a fairly obscure album, the mixing quality isn't too great, and sometimes you can't exactly hear some of his cymbals or his snare drum. Despite these technical short-comings, it's still fantastic material.

And speaking of lower-end mixing quality, I'd love to give all sorts of complements to the bassist, but YOU CAN'T HEAR HIM! They could have atleast included a small section where the bass riff was isolated from the other instruments, but I guess this wasn't their approach. Oh well, even with this minor flaw, the music is still great. I just wish I could hear him.

So in short, you can expect FANTASTIC instruments sections (minus the almost entirely mute bass guitar), some sick growls, catchy riffs, and lots of technical, classical-inspired solos. If you're into melodic death metal to any degree, I highly recommend this album! You will not regret it!

It Shattered My Mind - 94%

TheFirstJihad, January 1st, 2010

Source is one of the heaviest albums I have heard in a long time. To me, Finnish band Codeon has managed to create a very unique sound to distinguish themselves among a vast sea of melodic death metal groups coming out of northern Europe (and entering my iTunes via torrents). The guitars are tuned down and sound so low and heavy I almost think the bass player is the one strumming gigantic power chords half the time. This is probably what you expect to get when you listen to a band under the label "Stay Heavy Records."

The music isn't all just heavy riffs though. On tracks such as "Shattermind" or the end of "Death Is All We Get," the guitars and drums synchronize to create what I like to call "slow head-bang potential." Listen and you will see what I mean. On "The Shrike" or "Sick From the Inside" the guitars switch to a crisp yet still thick blend of twirling and ascending notes during the solos. To match all this, the vocalist brings an awesome deep growl reminiscent of Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity... but even deeper. I’d go so far as to say if Stanne and Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth had a baby that inherited some combination their vocal abilities it would be this singer.

The album starts off extremely solid – my favorite track being “Deception”. That song has everything. Heavy, quick blast beats, good guitar work, dominant vocals of course, and fantastic soloing. The songs continue with a great intensity (mostly) that just naturally comes from the heaviness and power of the instruments. The producer did a great job with the drums especially. I always love to hear the kick drum rampaging through songs, and I can imagine it being difficult to do that and still keep the other instruments from being overpowered and prominent throughout the songs. Everything really compliments each other nicely.

If I had to describe this bands' sound in one word it would be: manly. Take a look at their picture if you want more proof: cigars, guns, and booze... at a poker game... Anyway, I give it a 94/100 for the same reason most things lose points on a review: I feel like it was still missing something. Actually in this case they weren’t missing anything; the album just sort of petered out at the end, another classic problem I see with a lot of music. The songs at the end were still very good, just not as hyper as the first half, which was a bit of a let down. I guess this shows that the way you organize an album is very important as well. (Ask Jari Maenpaa about this).

As a “bonus” to the review I will comment on the “bonus” tracks, which are just the songs from their 2005 EP. Codeon hadn’t quite honed in on the sound they had on Source, but these songs were still well constructed. They are a bit longer in length, but only because the guitarists take up more time soloing. Each song starts and ends with the same high pitch whine, which is not really annoying; I just doesn’t make any of the songs stand out.

Overall, Codeon has made an excellent effort. They aren’t really due for another album until early next year, but I will be looking forward to when it does come out.