London-native epic doom act Desolate Pathway released their debut record, Valley of the King late last year. The record boasts operatic melodies and fantasy-based lyrics with a story. So how does this freshman band stand in the epic doom metal niche?
The LP commences with its title track. A medieval battle is heard at the beginning, setting the tone. The song is about a man trying to defend his land from invaders, willing to die to protect it. Right away, vocalist Simon Stanton sounds somewhere between Bruce Dickinson and Messiah Marcolin. The song is a slow starter, but Stanton proves to be an effective singer.
The following track takes its name from the band itself; Stanton continues to deliver somber yet confident melodies and lyrics. This number is more of the same however. “Forest of Mirrors” has a nice traditional metal main riff and ups the ante with its intensity, not too far off from ‘80s Candlemass. “Last of My Kind” has a theatrical vibe, I feel like it belongs at the end of a musical. It continues the melancholy feel that is layered throughout the record.
“Season of the Witch” is power metal-esque, with riffs riding gallantly on horses. It brings an interesting point that epic doom and power metal can have some overlap. “King of Vultures” is a bore, but luckily short. It continues themes both lyrically and musically from before. “Shadow of the Tormentor” contains dark melodies. I particularly enjoyed when he kept repeating, “This world is real”. The record ends with “Upon the Throne of Lights,” which also has a power metal vibe. It follows the formula of previous songs.
The biggest problem with the album is what I just stated above. Each song follows a formula: Stanton leads with an operatic melody about standing up against oppressors with the standard traditional metal/epic doom/power metal instrumentation. It’s not bad, just redundant. They also don’t go epic enough instrumentally at times. A lot of the riffs are stale or don’t get my attention. The band definitely has potential if they mix it up a bit more next time. Fortunately, their pathway in the future might not be so desolate.
1. Valley of the King
2. Desolate Pathway
3. Forest of Mirrors
4. Last of My Kind (The Ring Keeper)
5. Season of the Witch
6. King of Vultures
7. Shadow of the Tormenter
8. Upon the Throne of Lights
Desolate Pathway is:
Simon Stanton – Vocals
Vince Hempstead – Guitar
Jim Rumsey – Bass
Mags – Drums