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(52:42 / Sensory Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Free of Doubt 1:24 2. Faded Crystals 8:19 3. Lines to Follow 6:54 4. Scent of Snow 6:49 5. Sorrow Never Dies 5:29 6. The Sad Game 9:12 7. In Salicis Umbra 1:39 8. Strange Kind Of Energy 5:38 9. Emerald City 7:16 LINEUP: Marco Sandron – vocals Alessio Velliscig – guitars Gianpaolo Rinaldi – keyboards Ivan-Moni Bidin – drums Fabio D’Amore – bass
Prolusion. Italian band PATHOSRAY presents their self-titled debut release, a Sensory Records production.
Analysis. Of the nine tracks on this 53-minute recording the first three best of all suit my personal tastes. The only instrumental here, Free of Doubt, is an excellent intro to the album, a Classical-like piece for piano performed with confidence and finesse. The first two songs, Faded Crystals and Lines to Follow, find Pathosray investigating what are clearly their most profound arrangements so far, both very rarely, if ever, revealing the lyrical, mellower side of the band. The overall sound here is full and heavy, truly hard-edged, ferocious Techno Metal, stylistically reminiscent of Iced Earth’s “Burnt Offerings”, as well as some other prog-metal bands widely using techno-thrash devices, like Fates Warning circa “Awaken the Guardian” for instance, though there are also some softer art-rock-y excursions, most often with elegant piano at their helm. Pathosray’s four instrumentalists all shine with resourcefulness on these two, as also does singer Marco Sandron who now imitates John Arch, now delivers the power of Bruce Dickinson, but most of the time sounds original, disclosing a surprisingly broad range in his voice. Varied, sophisticated multi-sectional compositions with a lot of alterations to their several primary storylines, both songs display a higher degree of complexity and refinement than any of the following ones. Nonetheless there are three more tracks to be found on the recording that, though not as strikingly remarkable as those two, are very good overall. The Sad Game and Strange Kind Of Energy both alternate complex, relatively large-scaled guitar- and keyboards-driven instrumental maneuvers with slightly more straightforward vocal sections. At their best moments these remind me of classic Sieges Even (first four albums) and Dream Theater, while during most of their vocal-laden arrangements each suggests a style somewhere halfway between Helloween in the ‘90s and Judas Priest’s “Painkiller”, i.e. not polished NWBHM, but with a sense of coarseness and impetuous energy typical of the said album. Well, the latter song is by and large somewhat less edgy, displaying a mellower and more flat approach within some of its vocal sections - a matter that, speaking figuratively, will luxuriantly blossom on the tracks to be viewed next. Scent of Snow and Sorrow Never Dies both contain an instrumental interlude in a truly progressive fashion, but otherwise depict melodic pomp-Metal whose wealth in melodramatic feelings is akin to a soap opera - something often crossing my tolerance limit. And after all, why do these songs follow each other? They’d have certainly left a better impression if they had been placed as far as possible from each other. Featuring only vocals and piano, In Salicis Umbra is a conventional ballad, but it doesn’t bore me, partly because it is short, barely exceeding minute and a half in length. Things get much better with the final track, Emerald City, progressive Doom Metal which isn’t complex, but is magnificent and original.
Conclusion. Two thirds of the recording consists of strong material that blends together skilled performance with some solid compositional devices and justly-used brutality to create a compelling combination. The remainder isn’t really bad, but seems to be destined mainly for those who hardly even suspect a Prog Rock genre’s existence. Well, maturity is a thing that will come with time, while as a debut this is quite a solid effort overall.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: February 25, 2008
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