01. Free of Doubt
02. Faded Crystals
03. Lines to Follow
04. Scent of Snow
05. Sorrow Never Dies
06. The Sad Game
07. In Salicis Umbra
08. Strange Kind of Energy
09. Emerald City

RATING: 8/10

On their debut full length, Italy's PATHOSRAY has recorded what one could dub "the Sensory sound," meaning a terrific combination of progressive arrangements (stimulating, but not technical overkill) and shining melodies, CIRCUS MAXIMUS another act that exemplifies the style. Enlisting producer Tommy Hansen (CIRCUS MAXIMUS, JORN, HELLOWEEN, REDEMPTION) to mix the album does even more to bring out the lush sounds on the album. The debut is another notch in the belt for a label that consistently releases quality melodic/progressive metal albums.

What PATHOSRAY does especially well is mix a good deal of heaviness, including some purely power metal sections, with traditional melodic prog. A perfect example is "Lines to Follow", which plows ahead with fiery power metal on the verse and explodes with a lovely chorus melody. Big, chunky guitars and a thick, technically proficient bass are heard throughout the disc as well, most notably on the eight-minute "Faded Crystals", another case of the band's style blending prowess. The most memorable songs are highlights "Scent of Snow" and "Strange Kind of Energy" though, the latter a more traditional melodic metal tune with a pop-based chorus, and the latter a dynamically composed tune that builds to a gripping chorus in its relatively compact five and a half minutes. The album changes pace nicely as well by incorporating lighter moments, such as the piano-led balladry of "In Salicis Umbra". Like most albums with staying power, the debut allows the listener the pleasure of finding new favorites with additional spins that may have escaped notice the first time around.

Vocalist Marco Sandron shows an ability to move from his smooth, tuneful voice to heavier styles and whispers. His occasionally awkward pronunciation of English words takes some getting used to, but after a spin or two you will not even be thinking about it. The guy's got soul, no question about it.

PATHOSRAY's first full-length is unequivocally recommended for fans of any of Sensory's stronger acts. It is easy to see why the band was chosen to play ProgPower USA IX. I expect the act's sophomore effort to put them on par with acts like CIRCUS MAXIMUS and REDEMPTION.


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