And so with Dawn of Aquarius we come to the second and final “freebie” from a record label. I started getting back into power metal around 2016 with a handful of modern, aggressive bands like Judicator, Innerwish and Arrayan Path, whose fourth album IV: Stigmata I featured in an article of power metal album to ease someone into the genre. When it came time to review their (at the time) latest album I was really taken with how strong the writing was, let alone the technicality and execution. A few weeks after the review came out the label contacted me and sent it a copy of the album on CD as thanks.
And so once again,. having revisited Dawn of Aquarius again my mind hasn’t really changed, except to say I was pleased to receive the CD. And so here is what I originally wrote, excerpted from a longer piece on recent power metal releases I wrote for Nine Circles. Once again, enjoy!
I wrote about Arrayan Path back in May in my Nine Circles ov…Power Metal That Eased Me Into Liking Power Metal (Again). Their blend of American style power metal akin to Symphony X crossed with strong European elements – particularly Dawn of Victory era Rhapsody made for a smooth re-introduction to power metal for me, and new album Dawn of Aquarius does nothing to dispel that notion.
A loose concept album centered around Hindu mysticism and the goddess Kali, “Equilibrium” kicks things off with a bang, traditional instruments leading to a Powerslave gallop before Nicholas Leptos’s vocals take the song on a series of ascending and descending paths. The band sounds fantastic: I always have a sore spot when it comes to how power metal is mixed, but Arrayna Path have never sounded better, every instrument given room to breathe and feature, whether it’s the bass and drums locking down the rhythm, the copious amount of guitar solos, or the keyboards, which act as color more than a soloing instrument (usually my preference).
Songs run the gamut of moods, from the stomp and fire of “So It Shall Be Written” and “Empress (Reality of All the Threes)” to the more stately passages of “She Who Is Primordial Wisdom” and “Guardian Angel.” Arrayan Path have been holding steady, churning out solid albums time and again, and with Dawn of Aquarius they feel poised to deliver a power metal masterpiece.
I’ll throw a quick addendum to the original review that in 2018’s Archegonoi the band went in an earlier direction that maybe didn’t grab me like this one did, but it was still enough to be a power metal highlight of the year, masterpiece aside…