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The spell that I'm under - 82%

Andromeda_Unchained, February 3rd, 2014

Make no mistake about it, Arrayan Path’s IV: Stigmata is one of my very favourite albums from 2013, yet for some reason I missed out on Astronomikon’s debut Dark Gorgon Rising, which features a majority of the members of Arrayan Path. Whatever that reason was, I’m kicking myself for it now, as this is some more first class power metal from the Greeks, who I am now beginning to think can’t put a foot wrong. To be behind two cracking albums, released in the space of mere months is no small feat.

Whereas IV: Stigmata was a mysterious slab of majestic power metal, Dark Gorgon Rising stands as a more upfront affair. The songs here feel big and bright, led via well implicated lead guitars, some bombastic orchestrals, and Nicholas Leptos’s wonderful vocal talents. This definitely feels more along the lines of classic Euro power metal than the latest Arrayan Path, which I feel is heavier, and I guess deeper. Although that isn’t to say there isn’t some shade here, it’s just for the most part this is very accessible and obvious in what it’s doing – which I can’t stress enough; shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.

Seriously, when coupled with IV: Stigmata this is one of the best examples of having your cake and eating it too. Now I’m going to try and shut up about Arrayan Path, and focus on what I’ve found to be special about Astronomikon. For one, I absolutely love the theme, as both a fan of Greek mythology and The Clash Of The Titans film (yeah film, plural, none of that remade crap) this is right up my street, and I think it’s conveyed in a sensible manner that isn’t too blatant or juvenile. I’d actually say the lyrics feel relatively sober, and work well in developing character and theme, (even to the backdrop of mighty power metal) which is something the Hollywood movies were lacking.

Songs such as the fantastic title track, the enticing “The Stone Abomination” which feels in touch with Arrayan Path, and the absolutely brilliant chorus of “The Spell I’m Under“ are all delightful numbers which show Astronomikon in a great light. Although really, the whole album rules. Even in softer numbers such as “Dramatis Personae” I’m completely enthralled – these guys seriously know what they’re doing when crafting a song. Be it in wonderfully developed choruses, or in shimmering, exotic arrangement, these Greeks are quickly becoming a songwriting force to be reckoned with.

Whilst I still give the edge to Arrayan Path who if you couldn’t already tell, absolutely penetrated my soul with their latest opus (sorry guys, I just can’t shut up), Astronomikon provide a slab of first class European power metal which could stand toe to toe with many giants in the genre. The guys behind these bands are scary good, and what’s more is they don’t ram it down your throat. Coming across very humble in their talent – both instrumentally and creatively – there’s an endearing quality to the musicians behind Astronomikon, and their debut, which I just can’t deny. If you like power metal then you need this, simple as that.

Written for http://www.metal-observer.com