“Codex Templarum” is the third chapter (or third ‘book’) from Sacro Sanctus about the Templar Knights. This album chronicles the Templars’ persecution, regrouping and vengeful resurgence.
As in the previous two albums (“Deus Volt” of 2014 and “Ad Aeternum” of 2016), the main sources of musical inspiration seem to be Motörhead, Bathory and Celtic Frost. Unlike its predecessors, however, in “Codex Templarum” Albert Bell (Forsaken, Nomad Son) outsources the services of both a drummer and a guitarist rather than playing most of the instruments himself. I feel this move has been hugely beneficial to the music, as clearly evidenced in tracks such as ‘Order of 13’ or ‘Mater Europa’. Depending on the track at hand, Albert’s singing varies from harsh to whispering to thickly articulated and this helps convey a different personality to each song.
The music still has some riffs which I found a bit laboured but I have no doubt in saying that this is the best Sacro Sanctus album to date. Perhaps delving into a couple of tracks would also serve to illustrate the wider attributes of “Codex Templarum”. So, with this in mind…
‘Order of 13’ is a fist-pumping gem boasting a shred-tastic guitar solo and has the shadow of Lemmy lurking at every corner. ‘Mater Europa’ ponders on the role of the Knights Templars and the Knights of Malta in conceiving the notion of unity through diversity. On the other hand, ‘Rosenkreuz’ looks at the more covert undertakings of the Templar Knights – I absolutely loved the song’s instrumental excerpt which leads to its end.
Also worthy of a mention is the CD booklet which is so beautifully and intricately designed.
With “Liber III: Codex Templarum” the indefatigable Albert Bell notches a trilogy of albums about the Templars. One wonders what other musical (ad)ventures he has in store?
1. The Widow's Sons
2. Into the Pyre
3. Order of 13
4. To Die for the Cross
6. Crown of the Accursed
Part I: The Visitation
Part II: The Exorcism of Raymond De Goth
8. Mater Europa
Playing Time: 61:36
Albert Bell – vocals, guitars, bass
Owen Grech - guitars
Steve Lombardo - drums