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.