Mythodea CD Review by Scott Thomas
Charlie Zeleny - Drums (JLT, Jordan Rudess Duo).
John West - Vocals (Artension, Royal Hunt)
Christos Nikolaou - Guitars
Steve Digiorgio - Bass (Death, Iced Earth, Control Denied)
I'm sitting here in front of my speakers listening to the very first piece of music from the symphonic progressive metal band Mythodea. And the first word that comes to mind is "EPIC". In an anticipating manner, the word "Wow" is what comes out of my mouth as the silence starts to rings true and the music fades away and ends. I'm sitting here in pure harmonious fashion after this very short intro of baroque rock music. This is the definitive exemplary of neo-classical sounds. The first tune playing here is "Ingredi" and reminisces of an opening statement to the album. I guess to let you know up front what you are in for, which is a mixture of ancient sonic influences of melodic metal rapture and the mastery of illustrative musicianship culled together in one paramount album of music.
Let's lay a little ground work down before I write this review... Mythodea is a symphonic/progressive metal project created by Christos Nikolaou from Greece. Christos has always had a passion for music and has openly cultivated this since childhood with many influences… From classical baroque music and soundtracks to progressive metal.
Now that you’ve got some info on the band Mythodea, we'll delve a little deeper into the "rabbit hole" shall we? Yes, I think we shall...
The next song out of the surly gates of Armageddon is "Another World"... There are great big melodic riffs with intricate dual guitar lines. John West's vocals are operatic and reek of emotive swagger... This tune has a nice catchy rhythmic twist in the chorus’ all the while singing the fetching memorable lyrics “Do you know, do you know the way my friend?”. The song goes from marching cadences, to galloping sections of monstrous percussive beats to lastly floating on columns of very light resonance. There are many hills and dales to fly over above these sonic landscapes of darkened grandeur...
Mythodea's artistic vision is to take the listeners on a musical journey through deep emotional landscapes and themes that are easily relate-able. In the course of this journey, the listener will feel elevated by the way the music is delivered.
As I sit hear and listen to the song “Hope”, I couldn’t help but note the majestic nature of this tight track. The hammering rhythm guitars are smart, dynamic and overall fun to listen to. The singing at times remind me of Geoff Tate's original Halford-esque howl and there are catchy pop sensibilities in the writing to keep the listener on the edge of their seats. Ronnie James Dio comes to mind as I listen through the song “In My Soul”. The vibe takes you on a caravanic journey through your mind’s eye of the Sahara’s… The music sweeps you along like a brisk wind quickly descending from the desert sky… The intricate drumming and double-time percussion's are spot on and really build these mixes up to superb curiosity while giving the listener that hammering beat that hits them nicely between the eyes and ears. Christos’ lead solo is very mature and plays like a veteran ax-man with years of experience. He plays for what the song calls for. He is a true, highly skilled professional of the trade. And, when he say’s it, he says it nice and loud with his guitar using interestingly melodic imaginative lead solos to sweeten the roll of the dice. He’s got the right tone and clearly dominates the fret board with his harmonic ideas and aurally painted landscapes of Masonic colors.
What I’m hearing here is a new vital force in the progressive hard rock metal music scene. Unquestionably, this CD ‘Mythodea’ is a defining moment of the band's career. The band should be proud of this effort and I also hope more people get to hear about them and their visionary muse… This should be an ‘operation mind crime’ right here because the music is mind-blowing at times. As for the masterfully written “In My Soul”, all I can say is evocative, inventive, avant-metal …
The musical backbone is an original approach to the mix of the symphonic and heavy metal elements, which make Mythodea sound quite unique. To fully achieve this vision, Christo's carefully assembled some of the most talented and dedicated musicians in the progressive metal scene.
Ok ok ok… The beautiful song “Nostalgia” got me…I openly confess… It threw me for a loop and I was caught off guard emotionally with this one. And the music struck through my heart like a dagger of addictive love and loss… a poignant moment. The overall music definitely reached out to me and unexpectedly touched my soul when I didn’t expect it. Now that’s MUSIC !!! I’ve always been a bit sentimental, and susceptible to stirring endearing music. I know, there’s a sucker for good rock ballads born a minute, but at least I admit it.
2. Another World
4. In My Soul
8. Sailing On A Storm Sea
11. Ultimate Pain
“Mnemosyne” comes at you like a jack-hammer drilling into your mind and then once in, takes you on an embryonic journey of celestial noetic notes and passages.
The inciteful guitar playing keeps these masterpieces coherently together and cohesive throughout the overall album. All the fretwork is meticulously done with fire and vigor. I hear a wide variety of legendary guitar hero influenced string bending in the styles of the talented and melodic Michael Schenker, to neo-classical shred maestro Yngwie Malmsteen, and on to the likes of soulfully melodic pickers as guitarist John Sykes, Adrian Vandenburg, and Gus. G. from the band Firewind. Composer and Guitarist Christos Nikolaou is all of inspiring, with his flamboyant shred to include unexpected twist and turns as he so graciously shares with us in the motivational tune “Asia”… And as Mr. West so laments “Never listen to those voices in your head… Asia is waiting for you” with his over lapping trance-like vocal tracks.
Again, this album is full of soaring vocals, ripping guitars, Steve Digiorgio's embellishing bass lines and Charlie Zeleny's intricate drumming. Not to mention some wonderful gothic battle-hyme assults as with the hard-hitting instrumentation of the track “Sailing on a Stormy Sea”. The fury of the music is interwoven with the story-telling lyrics of other nomadic days gone by.
These talented musicians will ROCK every bone in your body. If you like classic progressive rock bands ala Yes, Styx, Kansas, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and Marillion then I know the song “We” will have you soaring through the black lighted purple skies of prog-rock heaven.
The shred-maestro Nikolaou says on his facebook page that he is into Mozart (Requiem is my favorite!!),Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin, Beethoven, John Williams, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, Symphony X, Evergrey, Adagio, Nocturnal Rites, Kenziner, Yanni, Vangelis, Ayreon, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Stratovarius... and finishes up by saying, “generally whatever sounds nice to my ears…”
The sexy, vivacious and steamy scenery of “Stay” is a captivating duet w/ John West and Maria McTurkthat with some enchanting moments. And lastly, is the closing manifesto “Ultimate Pain”. There is plenty of great forward thinking melody, lead and background vocals on this track which is indicative of this kind of symphonic production. In a nut-shell, clearly produced and technically played takes on the heavy music genre, all the while wriggling on the cusp of metal and hard rock music.
Parting Shot Across The Bow: Medieval times of Nostradamus peering into the future of today. The music is moving and evokes an anointed rising force within. Highly Recommended!!!