Arrayan Path – The Marble Gates to Aperion (Pitch Black Records)Sunday, 13th December 2020
Cyperus epic power metal band Arrayan Path returns for their eighth studio record, The Marble Gates to Aperion. Following up a sprawling double album Archegonoi, these nine songs aren’t necessarily under a ‘concept’, thematically dealing with human nature through the ages – split into thirds, The Past, The Present, and the Future with each part containing three songs. Choosing to be a bit more powerful and straightforward in terms of heaviness, it’s as if the band dialed back a bit of the bombast and felt it was necessary to convey their affinity for early Manowar, Kamelot, and Virgin Steele in terms of the triumphant chord progressions, soaring melodies, and driving nature of the material.
Evident throughout the record is the dramatic, ambitious delivery and confidence vocalist Nicholas Leptos possesses – often hitting semi-operatic heights during “Virus” or the more mid-tempo anthem-oriented “The Mourning Ghost” that mirror a melding of Niklas Stalvind from Wolf with Fabio Lione. Guitars take center stage while the keyboard work provides additional texture and flavoring – interesting acoustic guitar lines intertwine with the electric riffs during “The Mask of Sanity”, including some exotic cultural passages and deeper, lower vocal harmonies that could easily set audiences on their feet, exhorting screams and shouts of delight. The longest track “The Cardinal Order” opens with a religious narrative before the twisted power and neoclassical parts, King Diamond-esque shrieks, and Dio-era Sabbath template takes over, the spirited bass solo from Miguel Trapezaris a welcome surprise . It’s songs like this that prove Arrayan Path as an experienced outfit know how to craft interesting material, keying in on proper phrasing, peppering their harmonies and melodies with tension and drama to keep the listener engaged. Handing over the mixing to Simone Mularoni allows for that extra fresh ear approach to bring out the epic power metal style to an even larger circle – as this scribe could hear even Therion followers gaining affinity for the band.
Dialing in a solid record at 46 minutes, The Marble Gates to Aperion may not necessarily be the catchiest or boldest effort in this field. And that’s okay, because there are plenty of people who will latch onto this group, their obvious talent and musical abilities, and take the time to enjoy what they deliver.