Released: 2016, Pitch Black Records
Cyprus’s favorite sons are back with CHRONICLES OF LIGHT, three years after we last heard from the band on IV: STIGMATA. The new album continues the band’s exploration of spiritual and mythological themes while remaining true to the Arrayan Path style. The Leptos brothers continue their fully committed push to bring Arrayan Path to larger groups of listeners, increasing the aggression and adding more down-tuned riffs. As a result there are elements on COL that are different, but not necessarily better than on some of their previous albums.
Overall, CHRONICLES OF LIGHT is probably Arrayan Path’s heaviest album. The band has always used low tuned guitars in places, but they are much more evident now. Most of the opening riffs to these songs starts with a detuned riff, like “Gabriel Is Rising.” The problem is these are generic and dull riffs, or “stock” as Lars Ulrich would call them. Songs generally are darker, with Nicholas Leptos employing more growls and aggressive vocals, as evidenced by “The Distorted Looking-Glass.”
“Ignore The Pain” more closely resembles vintage Arrayan Path with its melodic, semi-balladic feel and Leptos’s powerful vocals and catchy chorus. Leaning more progressive are tracks like “Scorpio” with its winding keyboard intro and ambitious arrangement. Then it is back to dull intro riffs, like the title track’s hopelessly pedestrian and clichéd riff. Honestly, did the band have periods of writer’s block on this album? “Lex Talionis” has the band finding its footing once again with one of its patented, exotic riffs, full of melody and Leptos stretching to his full vocal range.
From a listening perspective, this is another “loud” production with all kinds of distortion appearing when applying any reasonable increase to the listening volume. Prior to this, every Arrayan Path album seemed to be a slight bit better than the one before it, but this time the band has proven to be human and actually regressed. CHRONICLES OF LIGHT is not a bad album, and indeed there are plenty of examples of impressive guitar solos and memorable passages that are what we have come to expect from the band. Unfortunately, these moments are equally offset by lapses of uninspired and mediocre riffs, disjointed meanderings, and a general lack of focus. Hey, it happens, and with 5 LPs out the band was bound to have a slight stumble. Fans of the band will enjoy CHRONICLES OF LIGHT while curious explorers should seek out one of the band’s earlier albums first.