You would be excused for thinking, at a first glance at the roster, that Warrior Path was another of Bob Katsionis’s many projects. It is however guitarist Andreas Sinanoglou who stands as the main man and founder of this particular outfit, and on it as such he takes the central role, with Katsionis - whose many projects include among many others Firewind and his own self titled project - stepping in to add further guitars, as well as bass and keys. Another big name on the roster is of course Yannis Papadopoulos of Beast In Black fame (also previously in Wardrum and Crosswind). This album, being the band’s self titled debut, is a divisive affair with heaps of power metal promise blended with uninteresting ideas, as well as great musicianship that sometimes takes itself too seriously. It starts out with Riders of the Dragons and all the trappings of an epic power metal adventure, rhythms gallop afresh and guitar dueling with Sinanoglou leading the charge for Papadopoulos to soar his powerful vocals over.
Problem number one: Most of the songs are too long for their own good and almost all of them have elements of filler. To be sure, the long, instrumental parts do the music justice and actually delve deeper into the theme with folksy melodies and a depth that doesn’t rely on full blown epics and grandiosity. At times. Other times it just feels like filler and for Sinanoglou to wank that guitar for no reason. The opening few tracks showcase the best of what the music has to offer, before taking a dip. Especially semi title track The Path of the Warrior - a mash of ideas too uninteresting for a ten minute runtime - is a disappointment, even with all the ambition on display. The epic feel of the album is lost somewhere around the halfway mark, and it’s apparent the ideas are dwindling and the filler comes on. The influences are varied and the ground ideas are for sure good ones; Manowar stylistics are close at hand, as well as the likes of Arrayan Path, while the rhythm play and flashy guitar work in tracks like Sinnersworld and The Hunter are reminiscent of the ‘80s and out of the Maiden playbook.
The album, while diverse, has no less than three ballads among its ten tracks. This includes the maddening decision to end the album with two of these three. It helps little that they are bland and uninteresting, with Papadopoulous’s vocals being the best thing about them. The lyrics he gets to sing, not so much. They are in fact another of the issues with the album; they’re uninteresting and empty most of the time. Even when you think they’d opt for some badass storyline or epic tale - I refer to the main focal point, The Path of the Warrior - there are just a few lines of non important gibberish, with the chorus going “it’s the path of the warrior”, with little pomp or flair or any kind of climactic zenith. Warrior Path is not a bad album, in fact it has plenty of promise that it doesn’t live up to. It is overstuffed with maddening choices and overlong slabs of uninteresting pieces you will forget a minute after the song is over, while the things that make the first half so good get lost as the second half comes on. First half though, pretty damn good, lads.
Standout tracks: Riders of the Dragons, The Hunter, Stormbringers