|Review: Arrayan Path - IV: Stigmata|
Label: Pitch Black Records
Year released: 2013
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: October 7, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (18 Votes)
I'd always been meaning to get around to listening to Arrayan Path, and after receiving several recommendations for their latest opus IV: Stigmata, I felt it was high time I gave these guys a listen. I'm glad I did, as Arrayan Path serve up a suitably impressive slab of power metal here on their fourth full-length.
I've heard a lot of releases this year that I've felt were disappointing or middling, particularly in my beloved power metal genre, so it's great to get my hands on something I genuinely think is cracking. IV: Stigmata is a really strong release, with masterful performances and an ace approach to the genre. This takes me back to the likes of Tad Morose or Angel Dust, with that sort of serious, mid-paced approach, packed to the brim with killer riffs; I guess it isn't too far away from the likes of Dionysus, The Storyteller, or even Fourth Legacy-period Kamelot, although IV: Stigmata certainly comes off a little darker.
The songwriting across IV: Stigmata is first-class, with some seriously good vocal lines. Even after my first listen I was humming "Judas Iscariot" whilst shopping. Of course singer Nicholas Leptos gives these vocal lines the performance they deserve; he's a seriously skilled singer with an excellent tone, a deft range and a knack for delivering in the power department. Whilst I think Nicholas definitely stands the strongest across the album, the rest of the band bring a lot to the table in terms of musicianship. The guitar riffs provide a lot of substance, with a decided muscular edge to it – definitely the type to get the blood pumping. Keyboards are utilized well, highlighting certain aspects of the songs, be it mirroring a vocal line, adorning a riff or providing a dramatic backdrop; certainly never intrusive. The rhythm section is without doubt worthy of note too; the drum performance does a lot to help in the way of variation and doesn't crutch on any particular technique or beat too much, the bass has a good tone and approach, whether it's anchoring a riff or following the drum battery.
When everything comes together it's a recipe for magic which you can hear displayed in the likes of the killing opener "Clepsydra", the infectious "Cursed Canaan" with its majestic chorus, and the moody "Disguising Your Soul" boasting some seriously cool vocal lines. Really though, all the material contained here is absolutely spot on, and I'm certainly hard pressed to pick out any faults throughout.
Arrayan path have really served up a treat here with IV: Stigmata, I definitely regret not checking these guys out sooner. As far as I'm concerned, this is definitely among the finer power metal releases this year, and I think any fan of the genre would be remiss not to check this one out. As I've stressed throughout the songwriting is really well accomplished across the album, and the darker, heavier approach should open up appeal to some of those outside of the style. All in all a cracking full-length which shows there's still plenty of life left in the power metal genre.
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