Cyprus' very own power metal juggernaut Arrayan Path are back with their sixth album for Pitch Black Records, titled Dawn of Aquarius, which follows their strong 2016 release Chronicles of Light. Though not a concept album per se, Dawn of Aquarius contains 13 tracks 'honouring mother goddess Kali and explores all aspects of Hindu history and mythology in regards to the black Madonna – Kali.'
The current line-up of the band and for the recording sessions were:
Nicholas Leptos – Vocals
Socrates Leptos – Guitars
Christoforos Gavriel – Guitars
Miguel Trapezaris – Bass
Stefan Dittrich – Drums
Kikis Apostolou – Guitars (session)
Huseyin Kirmizi – Keyboards (session)
As always, Leptos' vocals are front & center, his near operatic, powerful wail soaring over the top of plenty of galloping rhythms, crushing riffs, blazing solos, and the occasional symphonic keyboard flourish. There's a nice mix of pure power metal majesty here, as on "Equilibrium" and "Dark Daughter of the Snake", as well as some really catchy fare, which you can hear those addicting hooks & melodies on a tune such as "The Flower Born of Itself". For "So It Shall Be Written", the symphonic nature is heightened and combats the speedy rhythms, and the band bring out the crushing doom for "She Who Is Primordial Wisdom". More upbeat power metal can be heard on the vibrant title track as well as the highly engaging "Lotus Eyes", the latter being a great vehicle for Leptos and his emotional vocal attack. For those who like the progressive side of the band, look no further than "The Eleventh Mantra", complete with some kick ass drumming from Dittrich and lots of sizzling guitar & bass lines.
Overall, Dawn of Aquarius is a very strong album, though I will say it's a bit on the long side so be prepared for a lot of material to digest. Power metal fans who have not yet experienced Arrayan Path would be well advised to do so, and this is a good place to start.
1. Equilibrium 05:52
2. The Flower Born of Itself 04:49
3. Dark Daughter of the Snake 03:18
4. The Hundred Names of Kali Ma 05:15
5. So It Shall Be Written 06:38
6. She Who Is Primordial Wisdom 04:14
7. Dawn of Aquarius 04:02
8. Cremation Grounds 05:51
9. Empress (Reality of All the Threes) 04:24
10. Lotus Eyes 04:19
11. The Eleventh Mantra 06:11
12. Guardian Angel 05:00
13. Garland of Skulls 03:40