REVIEW: Codex – Delusions [EP/2014]


Artist: Codex

Album: Delusions – EP


Day 0: Preparation. Looking out the window, you’re confronted with an overwhelming sense of purpose. “Where no man has ever gone before…” you whisper to yourself, clenching your fists tight and wringing your fingers. Even with this newfound driving purpose—this sense of meaning among the stars and darkness above—you are still anxious, after all. Endeavors like the ones you and your team are planning have hardly been dreamt of by man, let alone actually undergone. This mission? Delusions, the debut EP by progressive metalcore up-and-comers, Codex. Combining technical, inventive shredding and blistering heaviness along with an immersive storyline and stellar vocals, Delusions is an archetype in awe-inspiring songwriting that, on paper, might seem over-ambitious, but in practice, is indeed enough to send this young band to the stars.

Day 2: Expectations and Anticipations. After a first day marked by lurching space-sickness and last-minute agenda amendments, you were finally able to make your first official log concerning your foray into the depths of space. Whatever it was you were expecting was certainly left behind, clinging to the firmament of the earth’s crust. Even the surreal floating feelings—life in zero gravity—that you’d been training for incessantly feel different, and somehow more real. Every small, slight detail seems pronounced and punctual—this is the first experience that ambushes the listener on their first embarkation into Delusions. Every detail of the album is fleshed out and full-bodied, providing a gripping, astounding example of intense, dense progressive metalcore. From the first dissonant, djenting tones of “Prologue,” to the looping, labyrinthine riffs lining “The Approach” and the intense heaviness of the closing seconds of “The Sacrifice,” ever instrumental aspect of Codex’s arsenal is locked, loaded and ready to blow the listener’s expectations to pieces. Kyle Peronteau leads the charge, beating away at tempo-busting polyrhythms and hyper-technical fills. “The Approach” is a brilliant example—primarily because it surprises the listener so much—of Peronteau’s perfect percussive battery on the listener. However—as the listener’s journey continues, it becomes more and more clear that the percussion isn’t operating alone.

Day 9: Spectator Sport. The eerie feeling of adjusting to life in space should have vanished by now. Light-years away (due to the majesty of modern hyper-drive technology) from the only form of civilization you could truly identify with, you still feel as if you are under some form of constant scrutiny. Even as you cling to the familiar, it slips slowly away, replaced by the skin-tingling sensation that you are constantly and curiously…spectated. The longer it continues, the more you feel it pulling at the corners of your sanity. This looming, unfamiliar element—and its insistence on replacing the familiar—comes from the dual assault of the furiously fretted riffs and chugs from Nate Parker and Dylan Gilbert. All throughout Delusions, these two titans of tedious shred and captains of the chug provide a perfect complement to Peronteau’s percussive efforts. Whether it’s the dissonant, groovy heaviness that bookends the ambient, hyper-melodic calm of “The Approach” or the non-stop aggression of “Revelation,” Codex provide a constant source of engaging, immersive entertainment for the listener in the form of tight, technical shredding and heavy, belligerent brutality. Backed by booming, rumbling bass grooves from Jesse Winters, this trifecta of terrifically fretted, picked and plucked elements is not just leaps and bounds—but light-years—ahead of the efforts of a great majority of Codex’s peers, providing an incredible instrumental experience that is neither repetitive nor scripted. Rather, it is intelligent and immersive; other-worldly even.

Day 23: Transformation. The tugging and pulling at the corners of your mind—the anxious whispers of impending doom in the recesses of your brain—have grown. Once soft pulls and subtle syllables have become ripping, tearing headaches and roaring, incessant and belittling shouts. You are no longer you. Rather, you are an abomination—driven by the need to return to earth and feel not just at home, but rather in a place where you can rule. These shouts and screams are none other than the shouts and screams of Pat Scanlon, who highlights the instrumental brilliance of Delusions with diverse, dynamic and perfectly metered vocals—and lyrics that tell the story of a warped mind (not dissimilar to the listener’s after Codex is done with it) which becomes bent on terrestrial domination. Every track—even the narrated portions of “Revelation” and the haunting “Interlude”—features an incredible vocal performance that provides the final hook needed to secure Delusions firmly in the listener’s brain, bound to stay stuck on repeat. High, visceral shrieks flow into a strong, beefy mid-range shout and finally drain into dissonant, gurgling guttural growls—all telling a story as dynamic and engaging as the vocals themselves. The interaction established with the interplay between Scanlon’s shouts and screams and the remainder of Codex’s completely brilliant counterparts is nothing short of astounding—renewing whatever faith the listener may have lost with the recent over-popularization of progressive metalcore and “djent.”

Day –: Termination. It has been days, weeks and finally, months since your last transmission has made it to anyone’s set of ears. All things considered, your last message—tyrannical, bordering on insane—didn’t leave much faith in your superiors for the integrity of your mission. It was determined a failure, and you along with it. However, this is where the divergence between Codex’s Delusions and the story it tells becomes clear. Delusions will echo on the ear canals of listeners around the world as one of the greatest debut releases progressive metalcore has ever seen.



For Fans Of: Volumes, The Room Colored Charlatan, Lies of Nazca, Damned Spring Fragrantia

By: Connor Welsh