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The Path Forlorn... - 75%

Dragonchaser, October 22nd, 2010

Man, it's good to hear some good 'ole neo-classical shredding now and again isn't it? But with Malmsteen fingering more doughnuts than fretboards these days, decent twiddling is hard to find, especially when it's not at the apex of the music itself. Now, enter Saidian, yet another German cadre of pirate-shirted troubadours taking it upon themselves to show the world how it's done, armed to the teeth with axes, synths, and harpsichords. And with a stickman proficient in all things double-kick related, a groovy bassist and a leather lunged frontman, what exactly is going to stop them? Exposure? Or lack of? Most likely, which is a shame because For Those Who Walk the Path Forlorn, their sparkling debut from 2005, is a tasty slice of cheesecake that, given the chance, even Yngwie himself would chop at the bit to try a piece.

Kicking things off in style with the fierce "Burn Down the Night", Saidian's cards are laid down pretty early in terms of what is to follow; their keyboard-led mélange of Edguy and Royal Hunt standing out a mile from fellow contemporaries due to their sharp focus on energy, bombast, and soaring AOR melodies that really give the songs longevity. One listen to the stomping "Cry in the Rain" and you'll be smacking your head against a wall within the hour just trying to remove it from your brain. Similar things can be said for the mid-paced "Heart of Stone" or the At Vance-esque "Lonely Nights", which has a chorus so sublime it almost brings a tear to the eye. Predominately, the band are led by accomplished keyboardist and chief songwriter Markus Bohr, but vocalist Engel Engelfried steals the show with his sweet, scorching range, a true star in the making with a talent that's sure to make Tobias Sammet keep one eye behind him in the rearview mirror. The only major gripe concerning For Those Who Walk... is the band's tendency to be a tad repetitive and, naturally, rather formulaic. At first listen the chanting "Chains of Time" gets the fist in the air, but after an exhausting keys workout and an interminable chorus, your finger will be poised on the skip button. Going out with a bang, and possibly the album's strongest track, "Raging Fire" wraps up the Saidian clause in a neat little Power Metal bow, showcasing the pinnacle of each member's talents in what is ultimately a sizzling hot display of professionalism.

For transient fans of the genre, this might be a little too left field in favour of those who'd rather stick to the big names or heavier contenders, but Saidian have set the bar pretty high here, something most bands find more challenging than actually competing in the first place.

Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com