Arrayan Path – IV: Stigmata

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Courting their darkest shadows and intent yet, metallers Arrayan Path return with fourth album IV: Stigmata, a release which will ignite the senses and appetite of all melodic and power metal fans with ease. With stampedes of riffs and fanfares of melodic flames coursing through the release, the album builds on the acclaimed encounters offered by previous releases whilst finding an enthralling epic narrative of its own distinction.

Formed in 1997 by singer/songwriter Nicholas Leptos alongside guitarist Clement Fung and subsequently with the addition of guitarist brother Socrates Leptos, the then called Arryan Path made an early impact with a pair of demos, Return to Troy in 1999 and Osiris the following year, but more so with debut album Road to Macedonia released in 2004. This was followed by a six year hiatus before second album Terra Incognita emerged, a release which got nominated for IMPALA’s European Independent Album of the Year Award, the only metal nomination amongst 20 others. Third album Ira Imperium lifted their reputation and presence further as it continued evolving their ear catching inventive and imaginative sound. The Pitch Black Records released, like the previous two albums, IV: Stigmata is arguably not a massive step forward for their already accomplished and potent sound but certainly a new aspect to its descriptive power and colour.

Opening track Clepsydra bursts through the ear with riffs galloping at break neck speed to set their stance before melodic majesty Cover_550x500_lowweaves its absorbing tendrils across the senses. The rhythms of drummer Stefan Dittrich then frames the emerging sounds with punch and forceful endeavour whilst bassist Paris Lambrou brings a snarl to the track which chews on the ear as the keys of George Kallis seduce with epically woven washes of warmth and beauty. It is a fiery and energetic rampage of a song but veined with melodic flames and emotive atmospheric enterprise which ignites thoughts and feelings to embrace the lyrics and their fine delivery from Nicholas Leptos.

Following track The Bible Bleeds opens with a carnivorous fury of riffs and rhythmic confrontation whilst the triumphant vocals lead the listener in to a bloom of heralding calls from the keys, a Middle Eastern imagination teasing the ear with grace and seductive elegance at the heart of the song. It is an excellent track which sets up a hunger for the rest of the album whilst retaining its place as the pinnacle of the release.

The less dramatic but equally as compelling Midnight and The First Born Massacre steps up next opening up even wider melodic arms whilst symphonic whispers permeate the still predominantly darkly cast voice of the song. There is also a deceitful air to the encounter which is even more and understandably pronounced in the following Judas Iscariot. A fire of vocal and harmonic potency veins the track as it takes mere moments to grab the emotions and once the returning Eastern flourish returns to tease the ear before a towering solo from Socrates Leptos, the track sears itself into the passions.

From the tall epic emotive walls of Stigmata, a song which stands astride the listener and takes them on an invigorating ride through melodic climes and sweltering soundscapes with again harmonies infusing the air whilst the bass of Lambrou growls and intimidates with a bestial presence beneath the textured power ballad, the album continues to sweep the listener up in an evocative embrace. The likes of Cursed Canaan with its enchantress of melodic sound welcoming its recipients into another bound of careering riffs and glorious vocal harmonies, and the melodic antagonist Pharaoh’s Wish, in varying degrees continuing to ensure the early hold and persuasion of the album is still a vibrant temptation.

As with the second of the just mentioned pair, some tracks do not quite grip the imagination as others, sparks rather than fires being ignited but there is never a moment where barren emotion is brought to bear in response to the songwriting and its skilled realisation. Equally for each which do not quite raise a flame there is others like Harbingers of Death which stoke up full passion.

Further elevated highlights come with the magnetic track The Storyteller and its irresistible epic stature and the predatory gem Mystic Moon, a song like Charming Paranoia which can only be found on the CD version of the album. IV: Stigmata will undoubtedly and deservedly be swamped in acclaim by power and epic metal fans, but it also offers plenty to recruit the enthusiasm of other melodic metal fans especially with its guest appearances by vocalist Jimmy Mavrommatis of Armageddon and guitar solos by Kikis Apostolou also of Armageddon, Alexis Kleidaras (ex-Deceptor) and George Kousa. Arrayan Path stand distinct to most power metal bands and with this album reward just as uniquely.

https://www.facebook.com/arrayanpath

8/10

RingMaster 11/06/2013

 

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Arrayan Path: Ira Imperium

Though strictly not a brand new release, having coming out last November, Ira Imperium from Arrayan  Path is simply too good to let pass by without sharing its mighty and addictive creativity. Released on Pitch Black Records the album is an irresistible collection of epic sounding yet grounded songs that fire up the emotions and have one rocking and rolling to the infectious power metal sounds that eagerly burst from each and every track.

The album is the third from the Cyprus band and the follow-up to the acclaimed 2010 release Terra Incognita which was nominated for IMPALA’s European Independent Album of the Year Award. Formed in 1997 by singer/songwriter Nicholas Leptos with help from his brother Socrates and guitarist Clement Fung, the band released two demos Return to Troy and Osiris in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Their debut album Road to Macedonia emerged in 2004 through Greek label Steel Gallery Records gaining the band solid interest for their fine musical craft and sound. There was a six-year hiatus until 2010 and Terra Incognita with the band returning with a more defined and adventurous sound. Ira Imperium takes things further to place Arrayan Path to the fore of their genre and with deserved luck into the attention of the world .

Alongside vocalist Nicholas Leptos  on the album there is again his brother Socrates with fellow guitarist Alexis Kleidaras, bassist Vagelis Maranis, drummer Stefan Dittrich, and George Kallis on keyboards. Together they have produced a release with songs that hits the spot relentlessly and accurately each and every time. Power metal is not the most elaborate genre technically but at its best it is one of the most anthemic and captivating experiences in rock music and Arrayan Path  here are the best. From the moment the atmospheric epic  dawning of opening song Dies Irae spreads around and through the ear the sense of triumph and unreserved grandeur is unmissable. With a cinematic flow the song breaks from this graceful start into a feisty and eager track with galloping riffs and punchy rhythms. Once the guitars swagger and tease with melodic skill and Nicholas Leptos  starts his impressive and expressive vocal delivery one is eagerly swept up in the proud and monumental flow.

An excellent start instantly raised by the following tracks. The rampant and enthusiastic Gnosis of Prometheus crusades across the senses with magnificent craft and an irresistible triumphant march. The vocals and guitar grab the spotlight throughout but the bass and drums form a stirring spine that allows the flourishes and anthemic glory to ride the ear with style and unreserved imperial power. The title track featuring  the legendary Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath) continues the fine display of heavy rock guitar work and expressive enthralling grand melodies. Again the song strides purposely as it excites and satisfies with an honest and undemanding demeanour.

Each track from those mentioned to the likes of the heart pounding Katherine of Aragon with the wonderful additional vocals from Natalie Kyprianou, the dramatic 77 Days ’til Doomsday, and the tempestuous Amenophis delivers nothing less than stirring and captivating aural heroics. Every song deserves a mention their quality that good but the two biggest highlights will end the review.

Kiss of Kali blends in ethnic sounds to bring a song full of vibrant eastern promise. The song offers  synthesized sitars and grand gallantry tied in with remarkable invention and inspirational melodies. Again a song that leaves energy restraint at home it is well crafted and cultured, a glorious track almost equalled by Emir of the Faithful. Middle Eastern melodies and sounds once more make a notable essence in the story of the struggle of Algerian Emir ‘Abd al-Qādir against French colonialism. From the chorus to the strident riffs and plaintive melodies the song is thoroughly pleasing.

Ira Imperium is simply glorious, a cathartic wonder for the heart and for one who is not generally a fan of power metal  Arrayan Path and their album has emerged as a surprising and complete pleasure.

RingMaster 17/04/2012

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