Arrayan Path – The Marble Gates To Apeiron

Arrayan Path – The Marble Gates To Apeiron
Pitch Black Records
Release Date: 27/11/2020
Running Time: 48:07
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Now being of part-Cypriot extraction myself, I was quite surprised to hear that there were any metal bands at all in Cyprus, let alone Power Metal ones, so I have approached this with a certain amount of interest. I’ve often felt that a lot of the mainland Hellenic Metal acts I have come across recently still held a sort of 80’s naïve charm, with a recording sound that often didn’t quite ‘get’ what Metal is about – in part I suspect for the same reason their NWOBHM predecessors did – studios and engineers who simply had no experience with it. Given that they have seven releases under their belt already this is not a problem for Arrayan Path, who absolutely get that the Power Genre works best with a willingness to embrace every technical and recording trick in the book in the quest for a rich, full and epic sound, which this record masterfully achieves.

Another mercy is the decision to avoid the dreaded concept album format beloved of so many of their peers, which to be honest really has run its course. Instead, we have a slightly darker and more Melodic Metal tinged piece, which although thematically conceptual, does not involve trying to wrap your head around a complex story in order to fathom the point of it. Equally enjoyable are the unexpected technical twists and sleights of hand that the album throws out – from some downright Progressive pauses, time changes and chord twists, to the epic interplay that would not sound out of place on a Symphonic Metal album. Then there’s those moments when Nicholas Leptos lets rip from his normally gentle and soothing vocal tones to an outright shredding scream that could take the wallpaper off the ceiling (assuming the roof was still in place to hold it after the pounding it has just had at the hands of the rhythm section).

This album is also something of a slow burner. On first listen it didn’t really grab me, but after a couple of spins the technical interplay and subtlety becomes clearer, and I’m left with a feeling that this is a band with a lot more to offer. I may be late to the Arrayan party, but I’m glad I got there in time for the strong stuff.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Marble Gates To Apeiron
02. Metamorphosis
03. Virus
04. The Mourning Ghost
05. To Live Another Day
06. The Mask Of Sanity
07. The Cardinal Order
08. A Silent Masquerade
09. Black Sails (The Nemean Ode)

LINE-UP:
Nicholas Leptos – Vocals
Socrates Leptos – Guitars
Christoforos Gavriel – Guitars
Miguel Trapezaris – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Insatia – Phoenix Aflame

Phoenix Aflame Cover

Insatia – Phoenix Aflame
Pitch Black Records
Release Date: 23/06/2017
Running time:  37:24
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
7/10

For fans of Delain, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Letters from The Fire and Nightwish, Insatia are a female fronted, melodic, symphonic, power metal band from Amercia and Canada and “Phoenix Aflame” is their sophomore recording.

Founded in 2009, they have previously released one self-produced album, their debut “Asylum Denied” and they have opened for multiple international acts, including Sonata Artica and Dark Tranquility.

Produced by Fabio D’Amore (Serenity), Ivan Moni Bidin (Starsick System, Pathosray, Late Warning) and Staffan Karlsson (Arch Enemy, Firewind and Roxette), “Phoenix Aflame” could be seen as a symbolism of the changes that have happened in the band since the first release. Almost all the previous members have been replaced, except for singer Zoé Federoff, and it is around her that the new band has been based. They are a band reborn and re-energised. They have been through tumultuous times but, like a phoenix that arises from its own ashes, so have they.

Recorded at St Cecilia Studios in Tuscon, Arizona (and then later in Italy) with engineers Steven Lee Tracy and Robbie Wiliamson, the album features a host of guest musicians from Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind, Spiritual Beggar) and Chris Amott (ex-Arch Enemy, Armageddon) to Christian Hermsdörfer (ex-Visions of Atlantis, Serenity) and Erica James Foster (The Erica James Band) and the sleeve artwork is absolutely fantastic, fantasy driven as all symphonic power metal albums should be, a true work of art.

However, although the album is solid and consistent, it doesn’t measure up to the artwork. The guitars and vocals are the main aspects of this band, and although Kaelen Sarakinis is a fantastic guitar player who can produce great solos (especially on the title track), the remaining musicians almost blend into the background.

Zoé’s vocals are beautiful and captivating but I think at times she needs to be a bit more powerful. Thankfully, she doesn’t reach the screechy heights that some symphonic metal singers reach, and she does have a strong voice so I am by no means saying she cannot sing because she can, and very well too. I think with the emotion and feeling that comes with a lot of symphonic metal tracks, she should just let herself go a bit more and let the passion flow out of her in her singing.

I have seen mixed reviews about this album, from the reviewer loving every aspect of it, to one who hated it and my honest reviewer’s opinion is that it is a good album!

Each song is solid and the songwriting is tight and concise, but nothing stands out to me as the “epic” piece on the album. Everything has been done before and although I have no problem with a band following a recipe that has been ‘safe’ for their predecessors, I do think they need to push their limits a bit, and maybe it will give them that little bit of edge over bands of the same genre.

With a little bit more magic this band could easily be an 8 or a 9!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Land of the Living (Intro)
02. Act of Mercy
03. Memory of a Sapphire
04. Sacred
05. We are the Grey
06. Phoenix Aflame
07. Not My God
08. Captor and Captive
09. Velvet Road
10. Healer of Hatred

LINKS:

Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities