I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Country: Greece / Genre: Traditional/Power Metal
10 Songs, Run Time: 62:11
Release: Stormspell Records, 2019
It seems that Greece has become quite the heavy metal hotbed in recent years. The nation sports a vibrant home grown scene, with a healthy population of bands playing a variety of metal sub-genres. The Greek metal bands who are best known internationally are most likely Firewind (whose guitarist, Gus G., has played with Ozzy Osbourne) and black metallers Rotting Christ, but a number of other combos are currently making waves in the underground, like Diviner, Suicidal Angels, and Stygian Oath (who I reviewed on this very site last year), to name just a few.
The latest Greek up-and-comers to cross my desk are Warrior Path, whose self-titled debut was released in Spring 2019 by the true metal specialists of Stormspell Records. This project is the apparent brainchild of guitarist Andreas Sinanoglou, the only official "band member" listed in Warrior Path's album page on Metal-Archives. The rest of the band is filled out by "guest musicians"—bassist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis (a prolific solo artist and producer who's recorded with Firewind and Cassius Belli), vocalist Yannis Popadopoulous (of Nuclear Blast recording artists Beast In Black), and drummer Dave Rundle. Together this foursome has produced an impressive, polished 10-song collection of classy, melodic tunes that should appeal to fans of the aforementioned Firewind, as well as vintage Iron Maiden, Crimson Glory, HammerFall, Jag Panzer, and power/progressive metal in general.
"Riders of the Dragons"
I wasn't sure what to expect from Warrior Path when I first glanced at its unimpressive cover art, but once I hit "play" on the Maiden-esque opening epic "Riders of the Dragons," my ears immediately perked up and I thought, "Wow! OK, these guys are the real deal." Warrior Path is a very well produced disc; the guitars (both acoustic and electric) ring out sharp and clear throughout the album, the drums are always satisfyingly thunderous, and Yannis P's vocals are strong, soaring and confident. This guy was a real find, he's a classic belter from the Dickinson/Halford school. "The Hunter" starts off with some nice moody guitar noodling before building into a full on power metal burner. "A Sinner's World" and "Stormbringers" are straight up heavy metal cuts similar to recent Judas Priest material.
Warrior Path can do ballads too, as evidenced by the lovely "Black Night," an eight-plus minute mini-epic which features lots of impressive acoustic guitar work. When the electric guitars finally kick in around the halfway point and Yannis is belting as if his life depended on it, you're sure to be hoisting your lighter skyward.
"The Path of the Warrior" is another lengthy, ten-minute epic of acoustic hills and heavy metal valleys that reminded me a lot of the Manowar classic "Defender," right down to the lofty, deep-voiced "gird-your-loins-for-battle-my-son" narration at the beginning.
The ripping "Fight For Your Life" is another soaring power metal number with a heaping helping of crunch and "Mighty Pirates" (did they borrow that title from their pirate-crazed Stormspell stable mates Blazon Stone?) is another track that starts out mellow and acoustic before flipping the switch to "kick major amounts of ass" at the halfway mark.
The soaring ballad "Dying Bird of Prey" (which I swear sounds like hair-metal kingpins Skid Row; Yannis' screams are very Sebastian Bach-esque on this track) finally leads into the acoustic album closer "Valhalla, I'm Coming," which is a unexpectedly mellow way to take the listener out.
Summing It Up
Warrior Path is an impressive "rookie card" release and is one of the most enjoyable "true metal" debuts I've heard in quite some time. The band members obviously have a deep love and respect for the sounds of classic heavy metal, and that comes through in every note of this album. Based on posts from the band's Facebook page, it looks like Andreas plans to make more Warrior Path music in the near future, though the project will have to look for a new vocalist first, as Yannis has returned to his full time gig fronting Beast In Black.
In short, Warrior Path is another home run for Stormspell Records. Fans of vintage steel would do well to follow these Warriors on the Path to true metal glory!
© 2019 Keith Abt