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Pathosray: Pathosray

During a year in which precious few new progressive-metal bands have shown signs of potential longevity, along comes Pathosray. Granted, the band has been festering in its native Italy since 2000, but never recorded a full-length studio album until now. The resulting disc is a savvy swirl of aggression and melody that draws equally from Symphony X, Nevermore, Kamelot, TNT and thanks to the clean and clear register of vocalist Marco Sandron another outstanding newcomer, Circus Maximus.

The album opens with "Free of Doubt," a stunning solo-piano piece that segues into "Faded Crystals," the album's most aggressive song that magnificently morphs into one of the highest-flying, best-sounding metal hymns of the year. "Lines to Follow" maintains the same invigorating pace, while the soaring mid-tempo ballads "Scent of Snow" and "Sorrow Never Dies" boast widespread appeal to help Pathosray find its broadest audience. Not a foul track can be heard, and the band's technical finesse, melodic sensibilities and razor's-edge execution make this a thoroughly enjoyable and classy debut. These guys, on their own, will no doubt make next September's ProgPower USA IX in Atlanta worth the trip.

Track Listing:
1) Free of Doubt
2) Faded Crystals
3) Lines to Follow
4) Scent of Snow
5) Sorrow Never Dies
6) The Sad Game
7) In Salicis Umbra
8) Strange Kind of Energy
9) Emerald City

Added: December 20th 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Pathosray Web Site
Hits: 5798
Language: english

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Pathosray: Pathosray
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-12-20 14:56:44
My Score:

Italy's Pathosray is in some ways different from other Italian progressive metal bands such as Zen, Khali, and Empty Tremor in that they are significantly heavier in their musical statements. Though they definitely follow a predominantly Dream Theater-defined route, their frequent use of double bass drum onslaught and slightly thrash-inflected guitar work bring to mind early Eldritch, one of Italy's greatest power-thrash combos ever.

The self-titled debut consists of nine tracks, two of which clock in at less than two minutes. "Free of Doubt" is the album's keyboard-laden intro that segues into the stomping "Faded Crystals", a tune that is relentlessly heavy with corrosive riffing and aggressive vocals which suddenly transform into crystal clear melodies during the chunky chorus. Not for a moment is melody sacrificed for single-minded fury, but vocalist Marco Sandron does know when to reach for heavens and belt out scorching high screams as well as go for ultra-clean statements with creepy whispering or melodic mid-range delivery.

On the comparatively more challenging "Lines to Follow", for instance, Sandron delivers the verses aggressively in an almost traditional metal sense. However, as the chorus arrives, he opts for a Khan-like multiple harmony-driven style that totally balances the whole piece out. Fabio D'Amore's incessant bass stomp lays the foundation for a thrashy rhythm workout in the finale.

"Scent of Snow" is the album's catchiest number, and evokes another Sensory Records band, Pantommind. With its extended intro, cool bass work, thunderous drumming, and versatile vocals, it recalls later-day Vanden Plas. Sandron's range of vibrato is frightening, and the chorus is simply infectious. Broken down into a nifty acoustic passage, the song regains pace with the arrival of a very Dream Theater-inspired instrumental section. The slightly Egyptian-scaled guitar work and odd-sounding keyboard work at the end are truly impressive. Provided they continue to hone and develop their sound, Pathosray could become a great prog band in the future.

Not everything is swathed in melodic song structures on this album, however. And it is this that sets them apart from their contemporaries. Following the one-minute piano ballad "In Salicis Umbra" (the only ballad on the album), the band foray into the most straightforward number "Strange Kind of Energy", which has the potential of gaining them fans of melodic metal and power metal as well. It is a fast-paced track with the occasional spoken vocals and sprinkles of keyboards thrown in. The last track is decidedly more eventful, as it contains yet another melodic chorus backed by wailing guitar work courtesy of Luca Luison.

The album's centrepiece is "The Sad Game", just shy of the ten-minute mark. Guesting the godly Alessandro Seravalle from Garden Wall on back vocals, this is easily their darkest and most wicked offering. Thrash-imbued guitar work and unorthodox chord progressions in the intro signal drummer Ivan Moni Bidin's deep respect for Garden Wall, arguably the most bizarre and original progressive metal band from Europe. Seravalle's instantly recognisable demonic-sounding vocals contrast that of Sandron's in every possible aspect. Each evil verse is followed by a clean-sung line in a whirlwind of slamming drum and bass battery. Although the Eldritch comparison may be a stretch, Pathosray is perhaps the only other Italian band in this style that can churn out such aggression without diluting melody.

It is a shame that guitarist Luca Luison has left the band, for his powerful articulation during the brief yet effective sections may not be too easy to replace. The guitar solo on "Sorrow Never Dies", for example, is truly expressive and a rare treat indeed.

Tommy Hansen's mix is great, but the recording done in Italy is definitely rawer and more in-your-face compared to, say, bands like Circus Maximus, Sun Caged, or Andromeda.

This is a solid debut album from Pathosray. Hopefully they'll follow it up with an equally great sophomore release soon.

Pathosray: Pathosray
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-11-05 22:50:20
My Score:

It's not every day you hear progressive metal debut's as powerful, classy, and mature sounding as this new release from Pathosray. While they've been together now for seven years, instead of rushing out their first full-length it seems the band has taken the time to hone their musical skills and songwriting ability. Now, with a wonderful label behind them in Sensory, they are right at home to have their music heard by the perfect audience. Sure, bits of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Fates Warning, Communic, Nevermore, Circus Maximus, and Eldritch pop up here and there (vocals even remind me of Guiffria a little bit), but for the most part Pathosray really show some confidence and swagger on this debut that most band's fail to achieve their first time out. A tune like "Faded Crystals" is about as good a prog-metal piece as you are going to hear this year, as it's littered with passionate vocals, gorgeous keyboard passages, tricky drum fills, and crushing guitar riffs. If you like frantic, complex metal with a symphonic edge, then "Lines to Follow", "The Sad Game", and "Strange Kind of Energy" will certainly fit the bill. And "Sorrow Never Dies" contains some haunting melodies that you will be humming for days.

No matter what way you slice it, Pathosray have delivered a fine collection of melodic rockers and crunchy prog metal epics here, and no doubt have become one of THE bands to watch over the next few years. A must hear!!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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