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|Arrayan Path - IV: Stigmata (2013) Album Review|| |
Arrayan Path - IV: Stigmata (2013)
Pitch Black Records --Running Time 62:02
'IV: Stigmata' is the fourth album from Cypriot, but formed in Boston, band Arrayan Path (formerly Arryan Path) and I so wish I had heard and reviewed it last year when it appeared because this would have been up there with my favourite releases of 2013! This is Melodic, Neo-Classical, Epic Power Metal of the highest order and if you like mid era Kamelot, Rhapsody, Tad Morose, Vision Divine, DGM, Malmsteen (without the predictable widdling), Blind Guardian, Masterplan and little bits of Iron Maiden, but with the brooding and dark intensity of the most recent Jupiter Society album then you're in for a complete treat! That is a lot of names but it's a fair representation because Arrayan Path take all the good bits and create their own sound!
At the forefront of Arrayan Path's sound are the brilliant vocals of founding member Nicholas Leptos who has a voice very reminiscent of Fabio Leone & Alessandro Conti (ironically the current vocalists with Rhapsody Of Fire and Luca Turilli's Rhapsody), and also Mats Levén (Malmsteen, At Vance, Therion, Candlemass etc), but his phrasing sometimes reminds me of Jorn Lande. He is in total command of this album and displays wonderful range and versatility! To back this up Socrates Leptos (guitar) and George Kallis (keyboards) are superb, but as already alluded to, this is not a case of 'how many notes can we play each second', every solo has been thoroughly and thoughtfully worked out and are delivered to perfection. Paris Lambrou (bass) and Stefan Dittrich (drums) also get a chance to shine thanks to the great production from Vagelis Maranis (ex Sanvoisen) who also created fabulous choir backing using only his own voice).
There are also guest appearances as well. Jimmy Mavrommatis (Armageddon) appears on vocals plus guitar solos from George Kousa, Kikis Apostolou (Armageddon) and Alexis Kleidaras (ex Deceptor) and all of them add to the album rather than making it sound like an excuse for a get together! It might be something I do more often than not but I really cannot name individual tracks because 'IV: Stigmata' is a body of work that needs to be heard in one sitting, preferably through headphones with your eyes closed! That way you'll truly appreciate what's been done here. I do have two bonus tracks though which ought to be mentioned. 'Mystic Moon', which appears on CD versions of the album is a re-recording of a track from their first ever demo (proving that quality is something that Leptos has always demanded) and 'Charming Paranoia', available as an exclusive download, which is a full on Classical Aria that had me dribbling with respect. It's so good it really deserves to be on the CD as well! Other than that, the only thing that I can honestly moan about is the fact I had to double check the spelling of everyone's names multiple times to make sure I had typed them correctly! When that's the only bad thing you can say you know you've got a winner on your hands. Mature, exhilarating and essential stuff!
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley