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lunedì 4 marzo 2019

Paths - In Lands Thought Lost

#FOR FANS OF: Black/Ambient
From the rich Canadian underground, Paths returns with its third effort entitled 'In Lands Thought Lost'. This is a solo project founded by Michael Taylor in 2013. As far as I know, this is Michael´s first fully metal project as his other projects like the extinct Heaven Was Beautiful Then, and his current side project, Teeth of the Wolf, are much more acoustic and ambient. In fact, Paths was initially a black metal project with many different influences and a weird touch, which has evolved to a more ambient black metal sound. This evolution happened in only 3-4 years, where Michael has kept an interesting rate of releases, recording several demos and the aforementioned three albums.

Now, only five years after the band´s inception, Paths seems to have achieved a state of maturity and consolidation of the current sound. This might lead the band to be more known in the scene, especially if we take into account that 'In Lands Thought Lost' has been released by the excellent label Bindrune Recordings. The new opus consists of five long tracks, where it is clear that Paths has now a quite distinctive ambient black metal touch. The tracks have in general a quite ferocious tone, where the guitars play a major role, the occasional synths increase this sense of atmosphere in certain parts, like it happens in the second track “To Brave the Storm”. Anyway, the use of the synthesizer is increased through the album, making certain tracks with a stronger atmospheric touch. Pace wise, the album has unsurprisingly a good amount of fast sections, but Michael manages to vary the pace enough to compose interesting songs maintaing a high interest. Thanks to this approach, the songs flow from fast to mid-pace and slow sections in a very natural way. Moreover, apart from the mentioned keys, he introduces more acoustic and ambient sections, like those contained in the second half of “Creaking Boughs”, where he even sings with a clean voice, just only like a single man choir. The last part has also a combination of excellent guitar melodies with a slightly more prominent synthesizer. This may be one of the most interesting compositions of this album. I would like to remark Michael´s excellent job with the guitars, both at riff level and especially with certain solos, which are quite emotional and with a melancholic touch; one of my favourites is that you can listen to in “The Everbright Land”. The album closes with “South Ever South”, the longest track of 'In Lands Thoughts Lost' that summarizes all the features here contained. It has a slower start with synthesizers whose melody is very similar to the one listened to in the previous song. This is not really a problem as I love how it increases the sense of solemnity. This is clearly the most solemn and epic track of the cd, with occasionally faster sections but a mainly slow-mid tempo. These calmer parts help Paths to have a greater room to create a hypnotic and beautiful composition. This is undoubtedly an excellent closing to the album and a composition I personally like to listen to over and over again.

In conclusion, Path has released an excellent third work where it seems to be very comfortable within the atmospheric black metal genre. Its mastermind Michael has composed excellent tracks, where guitars play a prominent role with very good melodies and a wide range of variety. The keys and other tweaks enrich the compositions and make the album even better. Very recommendable. (Alain González Artola)