Surprise reigned supreme at the RMR office suite when we discovered all those pretty sturdy bands that roam the limited reaches of the island of Cyprus. Lots of Power Metal, Thrash, and some genuine Punk Rock already crossed our hawse over the years. And that’s pretty wild. All that makes me wanna go visit there and mingle with the metal crowd a bit. But – alas – I can’t these days.
Arrayan Path1) suffered our scrutiny for some time now. The band, led by the Leptos brothers, that churns out these spiffy refrains just fascinates us. And still does so to this day.
Now, the last record we covered – Dawn of Aquarius – did not quite get in our good graces with its somewhat mushy appearance. Which – in turn – made us skip the 2018 record – Archegonoi – this band dutifully unchained a year later. And a massive double CD it was to boot.
After all, it’s mostly never a good idea to deliver a new record every friggin’ year. Unless your writing chops are fed on testosterone-laden jet fuel. And so far I have yet to find a band with that kind of firepower and a consistently stellar record of quality. Not even early Iron Maiden comes close to that.
But a new dawn is coming up and The Marble Gates to Apeiron just hit our turntables. And this time things look a tad livelier. The band stated that they worried mainly – and I quote “about writing good melodic metal songs.” Which is fine and dandy. But, did they live up to their own standard?
Let’s find out.
Well, The Marble Gates to Apeiron – the title song – leads away with this typical Arrayan Path sound. It attempts to return that old speedy power in their metal that still prevailed in Chronicles of Light, for instance. And it truly gets us there partways. Yet, not quite at the intensity that former records so ardently dispensed.
But already with Metamorphosis – the second track – a certain notoriety starts to set in. And this despite the somewhat Amaranthe-esque lyrics that raised a few eyebrows over here. In other words, whilst the band tried hard at certain moments to polish The Marble Gates to Apeiron with a variety of breaks and hooks, you never lose that sense of repetitiveness. And that goes hand in hand with a relentless, yet strangely even vocal delivery that never quite changes.
The Mourning Ghost – for instance – starts with an interesting intro that first gave us hope for some cut in the rigid snare/bass drum work to something more substantial. In truth, the hammering on their record started to grate on my nerve ends like Metallica’s Ulrich on St Anger did. Yet, after a short while, they’re back at it again. Speedy Power Metal, slower refrain, then again full steam ahead.
Casting aside terrible fillers like To Live Another Day, the crew here took a liking to The Mask of Sanity. This is the one track with that attempt to variety that we sorely missed before. And truly so, the second half of the record contains sturdier material that pulled the rest of the record out of the quagmire. At least a little bit.
A Cardinal Order would work well as an Assassin’s creed soundtrack of sorts, a mix between Leave’s Eyes’ new breed of Power Metal and something Kiske would produce. But – yet again – the track delivers a bit more traction and variation that we missed so sorely before.
But you need to wait until the last track – Black Sails (The Nemean Ode) – until some decent diversity appears. One that comes – surprise – with a tiny bass solo embedded in all that Kiske-esque riffing. A ballad of sorts with pretty sturdy drum work to boot.
But finally, The Marble Gates to Apeiron truly is a mixed bag of goodies and for sure not the best album the band ever produced. Yet, it is still a good record, full of Arrayan Path‘s trademark Mediterranean Power Metal.
If only they’d take a step back for the next round. Stellar material takes time to compose and arrange. And the competition never sleeps.
|1.||The ones that called themselves Aryan Path before, ouch.|