Friday, January 3, 2014

Pathfinder – Fifth Element

There are certain bands that you know within seconds of hearing them that they will be special. When it comes to power metal bands, I’ve had very few of those experiences; most of my favourite power metal bands are growers. Lost Horizon and Dragonforce are the only two main exceptions, which is why it is no surprise that Pathfinder has become the third such band. Take 2 parts Dragonforce, 2 parts Rhapsody, and 1 part Lost Horizon and you have created Pathfinder. This band successfully takes the best elements of all three and combines them into a terrifyingly good power metal band.

The main reason this band is brilliant is because they have no boundaries. Nearly everything to have ever occurred in power metal is on this release: excessive symphonics, over-the-top clean vocals, harsh vocals, female vocals, a ballad, ridiculous high-speed guitar solos, a profound love of metal in their lyrics, and more. As you might imagine, it is the speed and shred of Dragonforce, the hugeness of Rhapsody, and the sheer grandiose force of metal from Lost Horizon that the band combines successfully. The choruses reach levels of catchiness previously not discovered by metal bands, and they are truly a celebration of epic bombasticness. This is best highlighted on the first two full tracks “Fifth Element”, and “Ready To Die Between Stars”, where vocalist Szymon Kostro delivers a truly cinematic performance. His voice apparently has no limits as it shows both the classic soaring power metal ability, alongside some more dramatic, vicious sounding vocals. Much like Lost Horizon, the music is amazing, but it is the vocals that put this band in the next level of quality. 

Sometimes when music becomes this intense there is a tendency for bands to go off-tangent, but that is rarely an issue for Pathfinder. The lone ballad is a duet between Kostro and a female singer that provides a stark contrast to the rest of the album. Though somewhat unwelcome at first, when the guitar solo kicks in Pathfinder delivers exactly what one would hope for with it: metal. Likewise, whenever there is a slightly weaker song on the record, it is followed immediately by one of the most impressive tracks. Overall, the quality of this record cannot be understated. Much like the tragic figure of Lost Horizon, Pathfinder’s vocalist left after this album, and while they appear to be continuing on, it will be more than difficult to replace this singer. Nevertheless, “Fifth Element” is something you need to hear.

Be sure to check out and like Pathfinder on Facebook!

"Fifth Element"
"Ready To Die Between Stars"
"Elemental Power"
"When The Sunrise Breaks The Darkness"

Final Rating
4.6/5 or 92%. 

Written by Scott