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Here is a band that I'm sure no one has ever heard of in their life, for those who don't know Artension is a progressive metal band who lurks in the shadows of the metal world. Releasing many albums that seem to get little to no attention at all for reasons I simply do not understand. "Sacred Pathways" is a few albums deep into their career this one being after the masterpiece "Machine" I say this holds up to be a worthy predecessor. This band possesses a very unique progressive style which focuses more on the keyboards, pianos and vocals which is what makes them very interesting to listen to. "Sacred Pathways" is full of great displays of progressive metal, which in my opinion are some of the best I have ever heard. Let me try my best to explain in my first ever review.
The vocals are one of the shining moments of the album, John West has one of the greatest voices in metal and he shows his full talent on this record. He never lets up or half asses any songs. His soaring highs and lows remind me a lot of Steve Perry and Tony Martin.
The guitar playing is nothing too special just simple fast/moderate paced rhythm structures and chords. And as I listened several times I felt like the guitars where buried under the rest of the band, but to me this is nothing that ruins the album. Now I will move on to the drums which are like the guitars, simple, sometimes fast and usually moderate tempo. And there is double bass present on this album which is very well done by Mike Terrana. Next the bass which is heard more upfront a few times, especially on "Your Victory" but is usually buried under the band with the guitars, again nothing to ruin this masterpiece. Lastly I move on to Vitalij Kuprij who simply is a genius and displays some of the best keyboard/piano playing I have ever heard, very catchy, creative and energetic work.
One thing I really like about this album is the track order, it flows very smoothly. No songs feel awkward or feel like they shouldn't be there. The songs are very well written and progress very nicely, which keep the listener interested and makes them memorable. Some of the best parts are the ballads "The Calm Before the Storm" and "Flower of the Orient" which are two great slow parts of the album and give it some added variety. So in conclusion "Sacred Pathways" is definitely a fantastic, undiscovered progressive metal record. Dare I say a must have for any fan of the genre or someone just looking for a break from the traditional progressive metal. I highly recommended this and Artension in general to any metal fan. But this album is kinda hard to find, but if you do manage to pick up a copy, you will not be disappointed.