How much of a good thing is too much? Arrayan Path returns with their third album, Ira Imperium, with 13, count them, tracks of melodic and epic power metal. Thankfully, as in the case of their previous album, Arrayan Path is quite good at what they do. Nevertheless, my ultimate question with this album was, 'What are they doing, the third time out, that distinguishes them from whole European power metal pack?' Persistence and consistency in their craft, while important, aren't enough.
Nevertheless, against my reluctant speculation (or criticism), there are some noteworthy moments here. Before speaking to those, there seems to be a loose theme running through these songs: many relate to legend, history, and mythology. Certainly, these themes are the makings of classic power metal. This leads to the first of several notable songs: K(C)atherine of Aragon, the first, and most significant, of Henry VIII's six wives. This piece is heavier than expected, but remains epic. The segue at 2' 30" with the addition of female bgvs over lighter guitar and drums add significant color.
Above, Arrayan Path: a six man powerhouse of epic and melodic power metal.
For more melodic (and fast) heavy metal with some big hooks and a clever groove, both Ira Imperium and 77 Days Til Doomsday are two more notable songs on Ira Imperium. Honestly, the latter, with the lyrical hooks and strong vocal arrangement, is quite inspired.
The final notable songs are at the end. The Fall of Mardonius reminds of the pattern that Iron Maiden gave to this genre. It's epic and diverse, and has a strong male choral background vocal arrangement. The bonus track weighs against the heavy and fast paced power metal motif, offering a lighter arrangement: mostly vocals with pianos, synths, and carefully dramatic drums. Yet, it fits and, as a part of the whole, makes the entire album more pleasing.
Don't get me wrong here. Every song on Ira Imperium stands on its own, offering its own definitive characteristics. Generally, and perhaps significantly, this is, once more, Arrayan Path's strength: persistence and consistency in the abundance of their creative output. Thirteen songs of well-crafted melodic power metal? Over an hour's worth of tunes? It's hard to quibble with that.
Recommended, even if it's more of the same.
Arrayan Path returns with a mammoth platter, 13 songs at over an hour, of epic and melodic power metal in the true European style. Regardless of whether it's predictable or redundant, if you dig this style, it doesn't get any better than this.