Desolate Pathway – Valley of the King

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Independent

 

Review by Rick Ossian

Here we find London’s Desolate Pathway following up their Withered Heights recording with all the bluster and bravado that battle-hardened metal blokes should bring.  Herein lies doom.  There is also spoken word battle bits.  There are lots of lead guitar pieces.  There are clean vocals!  Not that unclean vocals are bad, mind you – clean vocals are just easier for this scribe to understand.  Desolate Pathway are Simon Stanton on vocals, Vince Hempstead on lead guitar, Nuno JB Silva on rhythm guitar, Jim Rumsey on bass guitar and Mags on drums.

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First up is the title track.  This is classic proto-metal, doomy with a spoken word battle intro followed closely by a sweet guitar lead.  There are plenty of biting, clean vocals and crisp drumming.  There is also a lot of nice guitar work throughout, with leads at 4:40 and 5:50.  At 5:10 there is also an upshift in tempo.  Not bad at all for starters.

Desolate Pathway (the song) is up next, and features a doomy, Sabbath-style intro.  This is mid-to-slow tempo ‘caveman’ rock, if you will.  Definitely heavy metal, but also a sad lament.  The vocals reminded me of Paul Stanley (KISS), and not for the last time.  The 3:20 mark boasts an upshift and a lead guitar solo.

Forest of Mirrors is another classic doomy number, with a riff very reminiscent of Sabbath (again) at about :40.  This is elementary stuff, my dear Mr. Watson, but not in a bad way.  The crows cawing at three minutes in again reminded me of the evil Sabbath men, and there is an evil spoken word bit (very brief) just in case we were in any doubt.  There is also another lead guitar solo at 3:30.

Last Of My Kind has one of those freaky weird intros with sound bites and FX, followed by lead guitar – slow and doomy (surprise!), with some excellent bass work.  There are nice leads at 2:15 and 4:00.  The vocals again reminded me of Paul Stanley.  This is a bit derivative but good.  There is a storm at the close, again, I suspect, in case we were in doubt as to Desolate Pathway’s intentions.

Season of the Witch is NOT a Donovan cover, as I suspected it might be.  It is a short but sweet mid-tempo metal number with a cackling intro and a cool main riff.  Guess who the vocals reminded me of?  There is a breakdown/shift at two minutes in, and a neat lead at 2:20.  At 2:40 it’s back to the main riff and out before you know what hit you!

King of Vultures features another classic doomy riff, and shifts even further down and heavier at about one minute in.  Again, elementary work here, but not in a bad way.  Sabbath came to mind again; perhaps Desolate Pathway worship at the Iommi altar?

Shadow of the Tormentor is almost depressing in its delivery, and features a very cool double riff at the outset (with yet another doomy intro).  A scream in the background vocal mix reminds us of where we are, and we get another lead guitar solo at the two-and-a-half minute mark.

Upon the Throne of Lights is a bit different.  The goblins and wizards make another appearance, but the opening actually features brighter riffs, as if to say that doom and gloom might NOT be their only trademark swagger.  There is also a good lead guitar piece at three minutes in.

So, in short, if you like the doom and gloom, and you also worship at the Iommi altar, then perhaps Desolate Pathway is for you.  If you do not, it is not.  That is all.

***/5

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