Arrayan Path – Ira Imperium
Despite what skeptics like myself may often claim on rainy and prog-fueled nights, power metal may still surprise you. Although the likes of Bloodbound, Dreamtale, Wisdom, Reinxeed and Powerwolf would have you fear and believe otherwise. Not that I don’t enjoy any of those bands to a certain degree, but originality still triumphs over familiarity any day of the week. Truthfully, the genre is in a more of a slump than back in the days when Kai Hansen ruled the world, but it’s still capable of producing fit and fresh outfits like Serenity, Solar Fragment, Chronology and Morton. This month another keeper of the power metal faith (re-)emerges and not from a place you would expect.
Coming of a strong sophomore record “Terra Incognita” the Cypriot Arryan Path added an extra “a” to their bandname (maybe to avoid confusion with Adolf Hitler’s proposed master race of happy Aryan folks), thus becoming Arrayan Path. This led to much confusion for the Black Wind Metal staff, resulting in several heated discussions and clumsy fistfights. If the history of Shama(a)n is any indication it won’t last anyway and I still think they should’ve gone for Arryan Path Of Fire.
Much like Cyprus is a geographical island located roughly in between Greece, Egypt and the Middle East; Arrayan Path is a musical island combining lyrical themes from such ancient cultures as the Greeks, the Egyptians and a variety of Eastern civilizations. The eclectic taste in subject material reminds me of Swedish symphonic metal masters Therion, especially of the diptych “Lemuria/Sirius B”. Yet Arrayan Path plays symphonic power metal specifically and within the genre historical endeavors are not unprecedented, as the careers of Thy Majestie and Serenity may prove. To conclude the list of similar bands I often noted a vibrant energy reminiscent of Nostradameus’ “The Third Prophecy”, another album dealing with myths and legends through progressively tinted symphonic power metal.
One could say there are four types of songs on “Ira Imperium”. A first category consists of slow and ominous stompers like the opening “Dies Irae”, the catchy title track and the mystically tinged “Kiss Of Kali”. Secondly we have instantly gratifying scorchers as “Gnosis Of Prometheus”, “77 Days Til Doomsday” and “Amenophis” with their kinetic and magnetic choruses. The third group collects softer and sensual showstoppers for example “Katherine Of Aragon”, “Hollow Eyes Of Nefertiti” and the closing ballad “The Poet Aftermath”. To conclude the band crafted some mini-epics following illustrious figures such as Algerian war icon Abd El-Kader in “Emir Of The Faithful”, nautical hero Odysseus in “Lost Ithaca”/”I Sailed The Seven Seas” and Persian military commander Mardonius in “The Fall Of Mardonius”. The two songs in the middle would both make fine additions to another sea shanty-playlist.
As with Myrath previously the folk elements scattered throughout the sound of Arrayan Path enhance the underlying layer of metal naturally, transcending the music to a unique and visionary experience. Landscapes form before your eyes, from hallowed temples under the blazing desert sun to the creaking deck of a storm-swept vessel. Rich in musical and lyrical detail “Ira Imperium” is an album every enthusiast of innovative power metal should be positively smitten with.
Arno Callens’ Rating: 4.0 out of 5