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An Album For People With Good Ears - 100%

tanabata, February 16th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, GM Records

Contrary to the troll reviews, Pathfinder are a talented band with a sense of music unlike any other. 2010 is the year that marked the birth of a masterpiece, titled "Beyond the Space, Beyond the Time". The name alone tells you that this album would either be A) another cheesy compilation of fast-paced songs about magical warfare with layers of guitar wankery and chaotic keyboards, accompanied by squeal vocals and catchy choruses, or B) an attempt at taking power metal to the next level to redefine the word "epic". Anyone with an appreciation for music and a good ear would agree that this album is the later. Pathfinder obviously tried mixing 90's power metal elements with modern symphonic metal elements to create a fine blend of music that catches the attention of the listener. Spoiler alert, it was a very successful attempt.

The opening of the album nicely prepares you for the adventure, showcasing the booming orchestras, operatic singing and tiny folk influences. Quickly following that we jump straight to shredding guitars, breath-taking riffs, beautiful symphony and astonishingly high vocal notes. Even to the oldest metalheads, whose ears have grown numb after countless hours of listening to metal, the second track awakens your appetite for headbanging, playing air guitar and singing along. Szymon Kostro's voice isn't distinct or remarkable and his aggressive vocals don't come off nearly as aggressive as you'd wish, but that's a big plus rather than a flaw in this case. In fact, his ordinary voice makes the songs more unique. When you think about it, not every warrior on the battlefield is strong, but they fight to the end nonetheless. This makes Kostro a lovable underdog in the power metal community and you can't NOT get goosebumps when he pushes himself and hits those ungodly high notes!

The instrumental side of things is even more impressive. The guitarists merge complexity and technicality with catchiness and beauty with ease. Throughout the whole album you can feel how much time was put into constructing the riffs and solos to sound as ear-pleasing as possible. The drummer does an excellent job and the keyboards never feel out of place. Everything is so neatly organized and well-timed that it becomes easy to immerse yourself in the sounds and imagine the grand world they're creating through the lyrics. The orchestration is breath-taking and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, and can easily match the high-budged symphonies of Nightwish.

After a series of stunning tracks, most notably "Sons Of Immortal Fire", we arrive at "Stardust" and this point every track until the end of the album is a masterpiece. "Stardust" offers even more with the inclusion of loud choirs and soft singing. The song builds for 7 entire minutes, leading to a section where the female vocals exhibit past melodies from the album. The song closes nicely, as if ending the album. It would have been nearly perfect if it ended hear, but Pathfinder can't settle for anything less than 100%! After a pleasant folk tune, we jump straight back to emphatic symphonies, roaring vocals and captivating guitars. The final song and title track is a good candidate for the anthem of power metal. A 10 minute long beast which combines everything we've heard until now, a musical piece which reassures you that metal is definitely the greatest genre to date. In addition to everything else, we're treated with dark, sinister, almost Dimmu Borgir-like sections where the symphony is eerie and the vocals are screechy. Kostro's hits some high notes which you'd think human ears weren't able to pick up, we hear that GLORIOUS chorus once more and close the last minute with a stupidly awesome amount of keyboard and guitar shredding.

The album feels completed, yet it leaves you salivating for more. It's one of humanity's greatest musical achievements, and its very sad that many people just don't have the mind to digest everything that is thrown at them by Pathfinder. Despite that, this is objectively a flawless album.