Pathosray - Sunless Skies
Frontiers Records
Progressive Power Metal
10 songs (51:07)
Release year: 2009
Pathosray, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Thomas

2007 saw the much lauded debut of Italy’s up and coming young prog/power band Pathosray. Their self-titled debut showed a lot of promise and great potential as it delivered hardly groundbreaking yet interesting and very enjoyable powerful progressive metal that referred to the giants of the scene. The expected sophomore album and possible breakthrough Sunless Skies were released back in may 2009 but didn’t cause as much buzz as I expected and it went unexpectedly under my radar for some reason. I was, as my review shows, a big fan of these guys’ debut and was looking forward to improved song-writing, a nearly fully matured band and more interesting music in general. Even though this still shows signs of a young band that are struggling in some places, they met my expectations and have with Sunless Skies unleashed a progressive metal album that managed to wake my interest in the scene again. Apart from Dream Theater’s new one and the brilliant Symbols by fellow Italians Dark Quarterer, the progressive metal scene, in my opinion, has been rather lackluster. Therefore it’s nice when someone new and fresh tries to stir things up a bit even if they’re not reinventing the wheel.

The only major complaint I would have for this is the guitar-sound which sounds very over-produced and nearly sterilized. It’s properly distorted, but it still comes off as a little too soft more than often. However, this shouldn’t take much time to get over as all the other stuff that’s circling around here should be more than enough to keep you attached. Pathosray have maybe cut a little back on the progressive side of their music and are perhaps leaning more on the power metal side of things than before. However, the space-y, unpredictable twists and turns are still there and while this is easier to get than their previous one, I don’t find this uninteresting in the slightest. Beautiful and carefully composed melodies enchant every single song on here and are audibly improved from their debut. The influences are, in addition to the obvious progressive metal bands, also ranging down to less complex bands such as Symphony X and Kamelot. They pull this off rather neatly and their lesser need to experiment with rhythm-changes and tempo-shifts is actually rather comfortable. As a whole this album comes off as more deliberate and less forced than their previous record with fitting symphonic elements layered above everything and very nice details such as the Pink Floyd-ian female vocals ala The Great Gig in the Sky towards the end of Poltergeist and Quantic Enigma.

It would not be an exaggeration to state that Pathosray have pulled of another impressive effort with Sunless Skies. Many new bands tend to fall in a trap of wilderness where they don’t know what’s left and what’s right. I’ve got to admit that I had the same feeling and worries about Pathosray but they seem to have avoided it by brilliance. The Italian progressive metal scene seems to be on the rise with Dark Quarterer at the helm and Pathosray, Astra and DGM close behind. Let’s hope they can keep this up, especially the younger guys. Highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
Quantic Enigma, Sons of the Sunless Skies, Poltergeist
Thomas quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Pathosray that we have reviewed:
Pathosray - Pathosray reviewed by Thomas and quoted 82 / 100
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