|Release Date||19 April 2019|
Set a course for fantastical, over-the-top brilliance, because Italian folk metallers Atlas Pain have prepared a world-capturing journey in their sophomore record, Tales of a Pathfinder. Like their first record, it contains a combination of folk melodies and themes on top of relentlessly energetic power metal beats. Additionally, the quartet remains unchanged from What the Oak Left, which allows for a more refined sound.
There is one word that describes this album perfectly: epic. (So why am I writing a whole fucking review, then? Oh well.) It’s flooded with strings, synths, choirs, and sickeningly upbeat choruses. Topped off with chugging riffs and rough vocals, it’s quite the blood rusher. It is very straightforward, but if you’re looking for wondrous motivation, this is definitely for you.
Tales of a Pathfinder has a wide range of different cultural influences but their core power metal underbelly is never far away. On this heroic expedition we meet ‘Baba Jaga’, venture all the way to Japan in ‘Hagakure’s Way’, and we even get a badass Maori throwdown in ‘Kia Kaha’ (you know, if the Maori made some of the cheesiest fucking music in existence). The folk elements are often overpowered by the surrounding orchestrations and galloping drum beats, but they don’t go unnoticed.
While I wouldn’t go as far to say that all the songs sound the same, there’s no variance to the uplifting and positive tone, which limits the possibility of much variety. And, like most power metal, it’s very much a team effort. None of the musicians are extraordinary (despite the extraordinary themes). However, they’re undoubtedly great together and achieve exactly what they set out to: an adventurous, entertaining experience that is as lively as it is intense.
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