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Arrayan Path - 'Ira Imperium' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2d/d0/a3/2087_ArrayanPathIraImperium_1333988686.jpg Hot

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Power metalphiles will find much succour here.

There’s a slight change to the band’s name for this, their third release – and the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Terra Incognita’. ‘Ira Imperium’ is another pleasing slab of power metal from the Cypriot band led by the Leptos brothers and an album that sees them expand to a sextet by the addition of a second guitarist, while a new bassist has also joined the fold. It is quite a lengthy album, the thirteen tracks clocking in at over 63 minutes, and I have found it less immediate than its predecessor and with none of the songs approaching epic proportions this time around. The earlier songs: ‘Dies Irae’ and ‘Gnosis Of Prometheus’ are both (in my opinion) more difficult to penetrate and appreciate than all the tracks that follow! It is notable that new guitarist Alexis Kleidaras has contributed to the writing of both of these…

Once again, the band has been splendidly supported by a number of guest vocalists and soloists. On the vocal side, the first of these, Tony Martin, has very ably lent his tonsils to the fantastic title track, while ‘Hollow Eyes Of Nefertiti’ features vocals by outgoing bassist Vagelis Maranis. On the dramatic ‘Katherine Of Aragon’- one of only two tracks to exceed six minutes (and then only slightly) - Natalie Kyprianou guests in the title role.

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‘Kiss Of Khali’ follows the title track, and one is immediately struck by the fusion of musical influences that successfully blends middle Eastern and Cypriot influences with more traditional power metal bombast. It’s absolutely captivating and fascinating power metal that resonates in similar way to some of the stuff on releases by Orphaned Land and Myrath that also incorporate influences from diverse cultures. ’77 Days ‘til Doomsday’ cracks along at a fair pace and is redolent of Rhapsody (Of Fire) while the partly narrative ‘Emir Of The Faithful’ is a slower song that includes sound effects. Excellent! ‘Amenophils’ is a short song that gallops through and then most listeners may well start to wonder “what the…” when they hear the start of ‘Lost Ithaca’. However it develops into a fine number, with diverse sections and featuring some wonderful guitar to bring it to a conclusion. ‘I Sail Across The Seven Seas’ is pretty decent but standard power metal fare whereas ‘The Fall Of Mardonius’ is a superior track, and probably my favourite, highlighting twin guitars and magnificent symphonic flavours plus dramatic solo and choral vocals. When the double-bass drumming appears one realises that this technique is not over-used across the album. Album closer ‘The Poet Aftermath’ is an utterly stunning, dramatic ballad with a gorgeous arrangement and the icing on the cake.

Power metalphiles will find much succour here. The subtle change of direction means that this album cannot be adjudged an improvement over its predecessor, but it is certainly just as good as ‘Terra Incognita’ of which I passed comment as a “hugely creditable release”. So is this…

Paul Jerome Smith

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