ARRAYAN PATH’s new album took me by storm.
I have been studying this band very carefully from their early demo days and to tell you the truth they never have disappointed me after… 8 albums. They always manage to keep their standards high delivering songs that are mainly based to the first class vocal melodies, the extraordinary guitar work and the overall atmosphere of their compositions.
But this time they really took it to the very next level delivering “Thus Always To Tyrants” an Epic Metal concept album that would stand proudly as a golden chapter in the book of their discography.
Why? Because the album is blessed with the most important feature that a record should have: The songwriting. I can assure you that in this one, ARRAYAN PATH have delivered some of their greater songs. They have actually focused on the mid tempo -and even slower- epic compositions based on those conquering vocal melodies. This is a formula that pretty much highlights the classic ARRAYAN PATH sound and actually reminds me a lot their first demo days and their debut album. But there is much more to be heard on the album: The faster pieces are riff based, leaving enough space for the lead instruments to generate some serious miracles. I also enjoyed very much all the preludes, the outros and the spoken parts on this album. Everything has been placed so wisely, serving the overall structure of a concept album.
Another feature that I would like to point in here, is the orchestration. The band must have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours working on the orchestration of the new material. They have generated a perfect balance between the symphonic and -in many cases- neoclassical parts of their songs that are co existing with the overall ancient Greek, East Mediterranean and near-Eastern scales that are the basis of their music.
Favorite tracks? “The King’s Aegis…”, “The Battle of Cnidus”, “Artaxerxes II Mnemon “, “Raid of the Achaemenids”, “Army of the Myrmidons – Return to Troy Pt. II (Origins)” (which is a serious connection to the classic debut dmeo of the band “Return to Troy”). As bonus on the CD edition we got the magnificent “Ancient Winds” track. It was part of the sessions of the ‘Αρχέγονοι’ album and was made available by the band during a support movement for the fire – stricken people in Greece (during the massive fires of Greece in the summer of 2021).
With this album the band actually returns to the big trademark of their two historical demos –“Return to Troy” & “Osiris” and the debut album offering slow and mid tempo anthems under a mysterious and darkly shining musicianship in minor scales that has to be the main point in everything “epic” (in my opinion). Actually the band never went away from the above mentioned musical trademark always including such compositions on their later -more Power Metal oriented- albums -like for example the mighty “Ishtar” on their “Terra Incognita release-. They are simply focusing on their good, old origins, in their latest release.
This is an excellent album that should be heard in its entirety. Higher than the top songwriting, big melodies, huge choruses. It includes battle elegies that are shaping a grant opus. A classy record that really gives the absolute meaning to the term Epic Metal.
Back in the 90’s who would have guessed that this small band from Cyprus would eventually reach eight albums. And not the typical eight song releases that look and sound the same. Eight inspired albums full of emotional epic power metal with references to both ancient and modern Greek history and Anatolian music. And thus, we reach the band’s ninth album, only two years after the exquisite “Marble Gates To Apeiron”.
“Thus Always To Tyrants” is the band’s first concept album, the epic saga of King Evagoras, the quintessential monarch of Cyprus, who, back in 400 b.c. managed to unite all Cypriot independent cities in order to create a nation. Not an easy task and his tale is full of blood, battles, political mischiefs, and betrayals.
Musically, the new album tends to swift from their previous ones, yet it retains all the main characteristic trademarks of their sound: the strong emotions, be it joy, rage, anguish, all buffed by the bell like vocals of Nicholas Leptos (yes the one who sung with WARLORD in their last days) and the modern bombastic epic / power metal music. However this time the songwriting tends to swift to a more epic mid-tempo style, a style that it is reminiscent of “Archegonoi” and the legendary “Road to Macedonia”: epic, pompous songs, mid-tempo melodies, and song structures that fit the narration of Evagoras’ story.
There are a couple of straight rockers like “Crossing Over to Phoenicia” or “Of Royal Ancestry”, yet they are a small minority in a clearly epic album. And although the songs are connected to each other, if I had to choose a couple of highlights I’d mention “Of royal ancestry”, “The raid of Achaemenids”, “The king Aegis…” and of course the epic “Army of the Myrmidons…”.
As always Nicholas Leptos, dominates everything with his voice. Above all he is the clear protagonist of the band, yet everything would be in vain if it wasn’t for the magnificent songwriting and (as always) the crystal clear production.
ARRAYAN PATH hit the spot this time. “Thus Always To Tyrants” is an intriguing album, that challenges the listener to follow an epic tale, yet enjoy seventy minutes of class A++ power metal. Don’t miss one of the highlights of the year.
Here is the discussion about the album on our forum pages.
Here is some airplay on our radio show.