In times of desperation and trouble, people often look to their history and heritage for inspiration, recalling past glories to give them a positive outlook on the travails currently facing them, drawing upon that which has gone before to drive them forward to face up to the challenges before them.
So it is with Greek melodic metallers Arrayan Path, who draw heavily on historical figures and events – both real and mythological – on an album that could be seen as a commentary on the situation in which their homeland finds itself, with the hope that this retrospection can somehow provide an impetus with which to propel themselves and their countrymen out of their current predicament, as they have done so many times in their long, chequered and illustrious history.
For this epic third album, Arrayan Path delve deep into the mists of time to call upon perhaps Greece’s greatest hero, Odysseus (on ‘Lost Ithaca’ and ‘I Sail The Seven Seas’) and arguably it’s finest hour, the ultimately successful wars against the Persians (‘The Fall Of Mardonius’); but, they also cast their net wider, both in place and time, from the warrior pharaohs of ancient Egypt (‘Hollow Eyes Of Nefertiti’ and ‘Amenophis’), the darkest recesses of India (‘Kiss Of Kali’), Tudor England (‘Katherine Of Aragon’) and even the Bible (‘Dies Irae’, or the ‘Days Of Wrath’ as foretold in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation).
The album is as epic as its subject matter and has all the ingredients you would expect: progressive power metal filled with breakneck riffs, bombastically huge orchestrations, posturing vocals, lyrics about – well, all of the above… and more – and it is all done extremely well, especially by frontman Nicholas Leptos possessing as impressive set of lungs as you’re likely to come across.
At times it’s all a bit too pompous and over-the-top, such as on the gloriously ridiculous title track or the superbly inane ‘Katherine Of Aragon’, with it’s Marillion-meets-Dream Theater middle section (complete with harps, ferchrissake!). But, it also has moments verging on sheer outright brilliance, such as ’77 Days Til Doomsday’, which gives Dragonforce a tough act to follow, the anthemic ‘Lost Ithaca’ or the utterly majestic ‘The Fall Of Mardonius’, with its somewhat ironically contemporary rallying call of “the time for battle has come for Greece”…
If you like Firewind, Sabaton, Iced Earth (or even Nightwish), then you’re simply going to love this! If you don’t, well….
A Homeric 7.5 / 10.
‘Ira Imperium’ is out now on Pitch Black Records