Mythodea - s/t 4/5
2. Another world
4. In my soul
8. Sailing on a stormy sea
11. Ultimate pain
Until now, Greek guitarist Christos Nikolaou was fairly unknown. However, Christos was always destined for big things and recently formed the symphonic power/progressive metal band Mythodea. With his 's/t' debut just released (currently digitally online only), fans of this genre will be in for an elevated emotional musical journey, the way Christos (composer and arranger) wanted it to be.
Accompanying Nikolaou to round out the remainder of the band, is a strong contingent featuring journeyman bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Charred Walls of the Damned/Anatomy of I/Memorain/Ephel Duath/ex-Testament/ex-Iced Earth), drummer Charlie Zeleny (ex-Behold the Arctopus) and vocalist John West (no, not the fish guy - Artension/John West/ex-Royal Hunt). Aside from the main quartet, Nikolaou has also invited quite a few guest musicians, which includes 6 vocalists, a keyboardist, a flutist, a pianist, a violinist and a double bassist. These musicians all have their parts on each of the 11 tracks on the release and are pivotal in reaching the symphonic sound and epic/atmospheric feel that the CD is meant to produce.
The recruiting of singer John West into Mythodea was a really good decision, as not only is West a talented singer anyway, but his voice is suited perfectly for the music on this release. The prog factor here goes very well with West’s impressive and emotional vocals and diverse range; John is able to belt out the high notes with relative ease, but can also bring the pitch down and have a powerful voice indeed. The rest of the main line-up is quite a solid, driven and experienced bunch of musicians as well, and this is proven with the quality of music throughout the CD.
For those looking for comparisons to Mythodea, I would start with Kamelot, Sons of Seasons, Soulspell and early Dark Moor, and I'd also include other bands that incorporate symphonic elements (and sprinkles of neo-classical) into their progressive metal. For a self-produced release, with all the music written, composed and arranged by Christos, and all lyrics (bar one song) written by John West; the quality is of a high calibre and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mythodea picked up by a label sometime down the track, possibly by Scarlet Records as they would be a good fit, or maybe Nightmare Records, LMP or even the big boys in AFM.
While the songs are not overly speedy and sit around the mid-paced mark (give a few notches either side of it), they certainly are passionate and emotional to say the least. Furthermore, the music is quite bold, lavish and bombastic; each song sounds larger than life, containing its own personality and identity. There are constant tempo changes throughout every track, fairly sporadic but not in a hectic and overpowering way. Very technical too, particularly with the guitar work and drumming, each track is unravelled carefully and precisely as it goes along, without any predictability too I might add.
The addition of the orchestral instruments add much depth and emotion as well, in the end you feel like you’re listening to a score from a motion picture as is it quite epic and empowering. The combination of John West’s passionate and soulful lyrical mastery and the creative musical mastermind of Christos Nikolaou is just fantastic, as it works so well; and fans of this style of symphonic progressive metal will certainly not be disappointed. As the entire CD is excellent, it's hard not to mention every song as a standout. That would give too much away and this release is too good to be given spoilers for. However, the pick of the bunch I would recommend would include the extravagantly epic “Sailing on a stormy sea”, the passionate and emotional “Stay”, the creative and memorable “Ultimate pain”, the atmospheric and engrossing “Another world” and the powerful “In my soul”.
I take my hat off to the entire band as their musicianship on this release is 2nd to none, while I stand up and applaud Christos Nikolaou for his supreme efforts and creative craftsmanship in the art of songwriting, not to mention the composing and producing talents as well. ‘Mythodea’ is a wonderfully epic and emotionally detailed musical journey, which will draw you in and involve you from beginning to end. Those who like their symphonic metal to be bold, bellowing, unpredictable and bombastic should really hunt this down. Well done, Mythodea, your debut release is a wonderful effort and it won’t be long before the rest of the metal community catches on to your work and hopefully a label deal is not too far in the future.
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