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Pathosray - s/t (9/10) - Italy - 2007

Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Sensory
Playing time: 52:40
Band homepage: Pathosray

Tracklist:

  1. Free Of Doubt
  2. Faded Crystals
  3. Lines To Follow
  4. Scent Of Snow >mp3
  5. Sorrow Never Dies
  6. The Sad Game
  7. In Salicis Umbra
  8. Strange Kind Of Energy
  9. Emerald City
Pathosray - s/t

One of the best things about being a writer here at "The Metal Observer" is the opportunity to listen to albums I might have otherwise never heard. Granted, there are many that I wish had remained unheard after having listened to them, but once in a while an album comes along that simply makes me thankful that the TMO powers tell me what to listen to. One such album is the self-titled release by PATHOSRAY, an album that I’m sure I’d have never heard if it hadn’t been put in my review pile. And while I never would have known what I was missing if I had never heard it, now that I’ve given it some listens I have to say that I would have been sorely missing out. You see, PATHOSRAY play the popular style of Progressive Metal, which really isn’t all that progressive, with several stylistic similarities to CIRCUS MAXIMUS, PAGAN’S MIND and early-DREAM THEATER. And they do so in spectacular fashion.

 

The members of PATHOSRAY are obviously all very competent at playing their respective instruments, you have to be in order to play this style of music, but they keep the wankery to a minimum. That’s a lesson many bands of this ilk would be wise to learn. The guitar playing is very fluid, with leads and solos dropping in and out of riffs that vary from Power Metal to even occasional touches of Thrash. The keyboards are also quite notable, as they tend to stay in the background, but offer a non-stop barrage of textures and moods that basically are the groundwork of each song. The rhythm section also holds their own. The vocals are possibly the strongest card in PATHOSRAY’s deck, as Marko Sandron holds his own with the genre’s best, sounding like a mix of James Labrie, Edu Falaschi (ANGRA) and Urban Breed (ex-TAD MOROSE), but with his own character. He possesses a smooth voice that can turn to a slightly hoarse holler when need be. Some aggressive vocals also shine through on the chorus of “The Sad Café”, possibly the overall best vocal track on the album.

 

So instrumentally, the band is tops, but where they really shine is in their songwriting abilities. PATHOSRAY is first and foremost a Metal band, and they reflect that in their song writing, as the melodic parts are equally balanced with the heavier, more aggressive sections. The band also knows the value of the almighty hook and isn’t afraid to use it both vocally and instrumentally, especially in the album’s collection of memorable choruses. Starting things off is a nice, but unnecessary piano intro, but then we get right into the meat of the album with “Faded Crystal”. The song has great shades of light and dark, and wonderful chorus. It’s one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. “Lines To Follow” moves into a more aggressive direction with its double-bass driven verses, and “Scent of Snow” follows with an uplifting intro leading into a more melodic but no less impressive sound. The album’s sole ballad, “Sorrow Never Dies”, is in the vein of the best of power ballads, with a solo snatched right out of the 80s. The album wraps up the melodic “Strange Kind Of Energy”, which borders on Power Metal, and “Emerald City”, which features a pissed-off sounding Sandron during the verses. A crystal clear production allows everything to shine through clearly.

 

Sensory Records, possibly the best label in the world for Progressive Metal, looks to have struck gold once again with PATHOSRAY. Their self-titled debut is now rivaling the newest killers from SYMPHONY X and DARK TRANQUILLITY for my top album of the year, which is really saying something. This is about as good as this style gets.

(Online December 18, 2007)

Eric Vieth



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