[10th June 2013]
[Pitch Black Records]
02. The Bible Bleeds
03. Midnight and the First-Born Massacre
04. Judas Iscariot
06. Cursed Canaan
07. Pharaoh’s Wish
08. Harbingers of Death
09. Disguising your Soul
10. The Storyteller
11. Mystic Moon (CD bonus)
12. Charming Paranoia (CD – download bonus)
Arrayan Path are a power/prog metal band hailing from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. They have been around since 1997, when they formed in the USA, though they have moved to Cyprus and were known as Arryan Path until only two years ago – although before anyone jumps to conclusions, “arrayan” is NOT an intentional misspelling of Aryan, but rather a type of plant native to Chile, so and arrayan path would probably refer to a path lined with these plants, which I can only imagine has some kind of special meaning, though I have no idea what that would be.
Anyways, Arrayan Path’s newest album, titled IV: Stigmata, is their fourth overall and it is a fierce, driving work of power prog metal. It has a dark feel to it, which is appropriate given the subject matter; it deals with themes such as the plagues of Egypt and similar Christian stories. Musically these are reflected well, with heavier driving riffs and grand operatic choruses. However, it feels like these lyrical themes have been done before far too many times. I personally would love to see bands write about something else other than religion or at least other than Christianity. That does tend to colour my thoughts of this record a bit.
Moving more towards the more musical side of things, this is a fairly solid album in terms of progressive power metal. The genre itself tends to be a fairly crowded one, so a band will have to do something really special to stand out, and Arrayan Path only half succeeds. On one hand, they have some pretty memorable and fun choruses to sing along to and one or two that really make you feel the story, and they do throw out a couple of good riffs, but on the other, generic song structures, the aforementioned lack of interesting lyrical themes, and having many of the songs do nothing memorable at all mean Arrayan Path fall short of meeting the quality of music set by other purveyors of the power prog genre.
One of the real strengths on the album, as is usual for power prog, are the vocals. Vocalist Nicholas Leptos has a great set of lungs, being able to produce a powerful chesty sort of sound, and he does make the occasional display of his solid higher range. I will also go on record saying I love their guitar tone, as well as the keyboards. The two combined provide a depth of sound that matches the grandiose, dark, and ambitious lyrical content. There are some really good guitar parts such as the one in “Midnight and the First Born Massacre” and “The Bible Bleeds”; the latter of which also features one of the best chorus vocal melodies on the album.
Ultimately, Stigmata falls short of its full potential. It could be something better, perhaps even standing with the best of the genre. There are some really good songs, “Pharoah’s Wish”, “The Bible Bleeds”, and “Mystic Moon” are the tracks that really stood out and those really stood out, but there are some weaker ones that detract from the quality of the release. This is far from a bad album, and is enjoyable to listen to once in a while when one is craving dark, Biblical power prog.
For fans of/similar to: Celesty, Kamelot, Theocracy