Released: 2011, Pitch Black Records
Back for a third LP is Nicosia, Cyprus’s own metal sons, Arrayan Path. For those unfamiliar with the band, Arrayan Path plays a consistent and well-executed brand of epic European power metal. That might be enough to send some running for the hills, but for those who eat this stuff up IRA IMPERIUM is sure to please. Another guaranteed attention grabber is former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin contributing vocals to the album’s title track and other guest appearances from promising but virtually unknown vocalists.
Fans of the band will quickly note that little has changed in the band’s sound, offering up the competent and consistent quality that they established on past albums. Thematically, typical lyrical themes of power metal pervade, including songs about mythology and history. Granted, the mythology is varied, ranging from Hinduism (“Kiss of Kali”, a cool and speedy tune) to Greek myths (“Gnosis of Prometheus”, surely inspired by Virgin Steele). Naturally, one of the coolest tunes is “Ira Imperium”. Martin’s guest tune is a mid-paced chug that recalls Hammerfall’s brief reign as power metal kings on their first two albums. The band’s own singer, Nicholas Leptos, is a more than worthy addition to the power metal pantheon, capable of a wide range and melodic phrasings that recall the best in power metal singing. “77 Days til Doomsday” showcase the bands technical precision, with inspired riffing and heavy elements deftly mixed with the sugary and melodic harmonies that are almost obligatory staples of the genre. “Katherine of Aragon”, another strong tune, is a varied and epic track featuring a female vocal contribution, which makes sense based on the song title. This track actually ventures closer to symphonic metal in places and is a nice change from the classical power metal vibe over most of the album.
With all the great music on here, there are some predictable moments as well. Take the opening track “Dies Irae”, a song title that is used by countless metal bands like Rage, Bathory, Dark Moor, and Epica to name a few. Not exactly original, but not a bad tune either. I guess not exactly original is a sentiment that basically sums up the entire album and band thus far. Nevertheless, this is flawlessly executed and it won me over because the songs are actually great songs, originality be damned. Production is expectedly excellent, and the guitar work is simply outstanding but then how could it not be? This is power metal after all. Percussions are fast but restrained in places, making judicious use of the kick drum which is also a positive quality. Power metal fans will almost certainly enjoy this as long as classical power metal aka, Hammerfall and Helloween is your preferred style. Recommended.