With their new record, Arrayan Path are the best thing to come from Cyprus for a longgg time!
Basing the lyrics and the pathos on the band's love for literature, history and current issues, the 13 tracks are connected by a plain link, although we're not in front of a concept album.
"Dies Irae" has a cinematic beginning, then a tapping solo introduces us to Power/Heavy metal tunes to sing along with fists to the sky; the riffs and the vocals are extremely involving, and the icy on the cake lays on the lyrics dealing with responsability assumption and God's and Satan's real intentions finally revealed.
"Gnosis of Prometheus" can't but be one of the Cyprians' aces in their sleeves, counting on superb vocal lines, penetrating riffs and a guitar solo that would make Malmsteen have his hat off.
Getting to the title track, we realize the track mould has a debt to the Swedish Power metal school; in fact the guitar plot spurs headbanging and the theatrical vocals and backing vocals do the rest.
With "Kiss of Kali" the Power metal incorporates a Middle-Eastern arpeggio, orchestral, original keyboards and there's even room for weird bass lines that won't be forgotten ever. It's mainly a HM song, but the added elements make it more interesting and the vocals, oh don't they fly so high!
The smashingpitch-dark Doomy riff opening "Katherine of Aragon" is soon followed by other riffs halfway between Power and Doom metal. Every guitar detail makes this song the record's masterpiece, rejoicing fans of Metal Church, Nevermore, Candlemass without preferences; a fantastic refrain, a break with whispered male vocals and angelic female vocals, refined piano lines, polite bass lines and even a brief dirty Thrash metal insertion is all you'll find in this amazing composition.
Completely different is the Speed metal of "77 Days 'til Doomsday", so close on the early Helloween; impossible to resist the oversetting assault of guitars/kickdrums/soulful vocal lines.
The lyrics about our planet's destruction by parasitic, stupid, greedy, mean, insensitive mankind really touch my heart and surprise me how man can sometimes be able to create such beauty and not only negative outcomes.
The proud vocals of "Emir of the Faithful" give me thrills of pleasure galore, while the catchy refrain and the break won't leave my mind till my death, just like the evergreens of the big bands of the genre (Iron Maiden, Helloween, Judas Priest, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, and so forth).
One of the outfit's most personal songs, "Hollow Eyes of Nefertiti", sounds fresh and contains marvellous pushful vocals, but it requires a couple of listens to be fully appreciated. Very few records nowadays exist that can boast a series of tracks without fillers from beginning to end, and I refer to established popular professional bands, too!
"Amenophis" comprises of another avalanche of top-notch high vocals standing out on a hammering drum performance; quite enjoyable the Mediterranean arpeggios as well.
More melody, acoustic slow guitars and heartfelt vocals are the ingredients of the first part of "Lost Ithaca"; when the distorted guitar and the drums attack, the song starts taking over and the bass lines are simply magic, from the rhythmic parts to the ones of the axe solo. All the enemies of Metal claiming only Classica and Opera are capable of achieving elevated noble standards should change their mind after listening to this and not only for the Gregorian backing vocals!
The two guitar players must've made a pact with Hell or God to find more astonishing riffs; such is the case of "I Sail Across the Seven Seas", where the six-piece really creates the right musical frame to Ulysses' long journeys; needless to say there's nothing out of place in the keyboard smart intervention, while the back-up vocals reinforce the whole and the guitar solos compete with the vocals for the palm of song's ace-est!
With "The Fall of Mardonius" not only have I learned a new historical fact I wasn't made to study at high school, but I have also appreciated a battle-like song, with vocals and symphonic arrangements going deep into my soul. The mid-tempo is irresistible, but this composition is also special, as Nicholas Leptos shows he can compete with Rob Halford as to superhigh and wicked vocals; actually the drums at a certain point are very Painkillerian, but the rest of the song's backing vocals and keyboards reminds orchestral and historical environments; I don't think I exaggerate if I say that if there were a movie on Mardonius (similar to "Troy" and the likes), they could perfectly well choose this song as a soundtrack.
Excellent arrangement and vocals (listen to the vocalist's nuances, please, he's at stellar levels of professionality, yet still undervalued) constitute the closure, a ballad titled "The Poet Aftermath"; the piano and the rest of the keyboardist's work flawlessly match the vocals once again.
It is a pity indeed I haven't learnt the Cyprus power station's older material under the monicker Arryan Path, but I'll try and get their physical albums at the soonest to remedy it.
Last but not least, let me stress out I've not been paid or bought in exchange for a perfect blonde's grace in for going all the way, and no presents were given to me by the combo or the label. No way! The review was totally honest as always. The maximum mark (100/100) is rare but possible, or rather mandatory when so good albums end up in my hands.
Ladies and gentlemen. This is what real music is...
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - Jan 30, 2012