Birth of a King
"Sometimes greatness can be found in unexpected places" - that's immediately what springs to mind when I'm thinking about No Hand Path's self-released debut. This young quintet from Greece has put together an excellent effort with An Existence Regained - an album that any fan of black metal should take a look into. Considering that No Hand Path has generously offered it for free from their homepage, there's really no reason why you shouldn't check out An Existence Regained. Throughout the near-60 minute duration, you'll find evil black metal riffs, melancholic post rock sections, and tons of other things to keep you occupied. No Hand Path still has some room for improvement, but this is a generally stellar effort that I'm glad to have had the pleasure of listening to.
An Existence Regained is actually a pretty unique album in stylistic terms. Although No Hand Path is firmly rooted in black metal, there are plenty of influences from progressive rock, atmospheric black metal, and even post rock. The post rock sections shine during "The Longest Journey", my personal favorite song from the album. What an excellent instrumental track! Occasional vocoder sections even hint towards technical death metal pioneers Cynic. Hearing such a unique sound like this is shocking, especially considering that No Hand Path doesn't currently have a label backing them. The heavier black metal sections are occasionally hit-and-miss for me. Sometimes you'll be greeted with powerful and irresistible black metal riffing, and sometimes it may come across as a bit "generic". If No Hand Path works a bit in the department of consistently memorable riffs, I can sense an even greater second album coming in their direction.
Two of the best things about An Existence Regained are the musicianship and production. No Hand Path is a group of remarkably skillful musicians, and I especially have to give a nod in the direction of Haris for the great drumming! He really nails some of the more difficult parts here with ease! The production is also clear and crisp, yet still has raw and unpolished sensibilities. That's how a black metal album is meant to sound in my opinion.
You could definitely say I was taken by surprise with An Existence Regained. No Hand Path has really grabbed me with their solid debut effort, and I have a feeling it will do the same for most black metal fans. A bit more consistency will do their next effort justice, but this is a generally brilliant effort from this talented young group. 3.5 stars is a fair rating here. I've had a great time listening to this album over the last week - it's not everyday you hear a debut album with this much promise! For a free download, you have nothing to loose!
1. Birth of Consciousness 03:03
2. Birth of Decision 07:10
3. Birth of a King 05:53
4. Quest of the Traitors 06:14
5. Quest of the Deceived 07:38
6. Quest of the Noble 07:26
7. The Deepest Journey 08:06
8. The Darkest Journey 06:04
9. The Longest Journey 07:59