Released by: Pitch Black Records
Release date: February 5, 2016
Genre: Epic Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Nicholas Leptos – Vocals
Alexis Kleidaras – Guitars
Socrates Leptos – Guitars, Keyboards
Paris Lambrou – Bass, Keyboards
Stefan Dittrich – Drums
1. Solomon Seed
2. Gabriel is Rising
3. ?he Distorted Looking-Glass
5. Ignore the Pain
6. Scorpio (CD bonus)
7. Chronicles of Light
8. Lex Talionis
10. The Last Eulogy
One of the more unique power metal bands I’ve discovered over the past few years is Arrayan Path, hailing from Cyprus. The band initially started in 1997 under the name Arryan path, but decided to add an a to their name due to concerns of people misunderstanding the intentions of their name. I first discovered them with their 2010 album Terra Incognita, and what struck me the most about was the use of oriental elements and local flavor they mixed in with their power metal elements to make for a more unique sound. Their 2013 release IV: Stigmata saw the band going in more of a darker, heavier direction, focusing much more on the metal elements while still managing to keep their distinct sound, and it quickly became my favorite by them. Now in 2016 they’ve released their 5th full length album Chronicles of Light, which has proven to be an interesting change of pace for the band, while still having some familiar elements.
This time around the band has placed a much smaller emphasis on their power metal elements, rarely even approaching what fans of the genre would consider fast, instead remaining at a mostly subdued pace throughout. Instead, this is mostly a very epic melodic metal album with a bigger emphasis on the keyboards for atmosphere and with a huge emphasis on epic vocal melodies, delivered flawlessly by lead singer Nicholas Leptos, who varies his approach greatly on this album ranging from aggressive low pitches heavy metal grunts, to a much smoother clean delivery, with a rather unique but very warm tone, to occasionally some more dramatic vocals and finally delivering the occasional death metal growls, which add a new element to the music. More so than ever before, Nicholas feels like the driving force behind the band, and at least in the vocals department I can say this is works out great as he’s certainly an excellent singer. Musically, however, I find this album a little less immediately engaging than their past albums, and at times I feel the band isn’t quite living up to their potential.
Opening track “Solomon Seed” is satisfying enough, beginning with some weird sounding chants, before launching into some aggressive guitar riffs which carry on throughout the verses, before the chorus kicks in and Nicholas takes over with his incredible voice. This track already represents a change in pace from their usual, speedier sound, and with “Gabriel is Rising” this only continues further, as the pace slows to a crawl and guitarist Socrates Leptos offers up some rather technical riffs, this time carrying on throughout the whole song. This sound continues somewhat with “Distorted Looking-Glass”, with more technical guitar playing, though the track is even slower paced and relies more on the keyboards for ambiance. The vocals present the biggest surprise, though, first with a more dramatic vocal delivery during the verses, and then with some menacing growls during the chorus, which are surprisingly effective. With the next track “Orientis”, fans are treated to the lone speedy track on the album, and one that has more of a classic power metal feel to it, except with slightly chunkier riffs and some screams during the chorus. It’s a definite winner.
While the first four tracks are fairly heavy throughout, I find the remainder of the album be much calmer and even more dominated by vocals and keyboards, complete with three tracks that I’d consider ballads, which is not something I look for in a metal album, though I can’t say any of the three are weak. In fact, they’re all quite good. Power ballad “Ignore the Pain” and closing track “The Last Eulogy” are very solid throughout, while “December” has some incredible moments, especially early on, though I do find the dramatic, almost narrative quality to the vocals near the end a little too much to handle, especially when Nicholas breaks into evil laughter, which kinda kills the mood on what is otherwise a very calm and relaxing track. The title track is also very much on the lighter side and not really one of my favorite, though it’s solid enough and the vocals are great as always, while the longest track “Lex Taionis”, at over 7 minutes, has a slight Iron Maiden feel to it, with the drawn out guitar intro, to the galloping riffs, epic melodies and even the chorus is somewhat similar to classic Maiden. Great stuff, and definitely one of my favorites on the album. Lastly, we have “Scorpio”, a cover of an 80’s Greek pop song called “Me to Simadi tou Skorpiou”, which directly translates to “With the Sign of the Scorpion”, though the band has written new English lyrics for the track. I can definitely notice a pop sound to the track, with its light sounding keys dominating and the guitars mostly serving as rhythm, though the band did give the song a slight metallic edge and Nicholas really delivers on the chorus, as always. Oddly enough, this is probably my favorite track on the album, as it somehow showcases the band’s strengths more than the majority of the album does, as weird as that may seem.
Chronicles of Light is not exactly what I expected from Arrayan Path, but while I enjoy it slightly less than their previous three albums, I can appreciate what the band has delivered, and it’s always interesting to see bands experiment with new sounds. For the most part, it’s a more melodic and more vocal driven album than their past works, and I think fans of epic heavy metal are most likely to appreciate it, while power metal fans may be disappointed. I personally wouldn’t consider it a year end contender or anything but it’s a solid album all around with a few big highlights, and it certainly has some amazing vocals.
Written by Travis Green