An ode to the Greek Gods
Mythodea is the personal project of Christos Nikolaou in which he composes all the music. For his first album he has teamed up with a plethora of skilled musicians of the wider progressive metal scene who would ensure that the end result would match his high expectations and compositional efforts - the goal is achieved as 'Mythodea' is an album that stands strong in the continuous flooding of our collections with numerous releases from the 'traditional' progressive metal style.
John West makes his re-appearance in the scene, bringing with him the legacy of Artension and Royal Hunt and delivers a solid performance expected by a vocalist of his calibre. The rhythm section of DiGiorgio and Zeleny (both outside their more extreme 'comfort zone') support convincingly the endless riffs of Nikolaou without standing out too much. The main dish of the album is the combination of prog/power metal riffs and the accompanying keyboards and dominating symphonic atmospheres; symphonic not in the 'Nightwish' style with operatic vocals, but in a more grandiose way, with pianos and orchestral instruments filling the powerful heavy riffs. Musicianship and orchestration is where the album excels, as all is planned out in the last detail and the sounds combine to a professional, polished result.
Drawing influences from Artension (as expected), Angra (the symphonic power metal elements e.g. in 'Mnemosyne' and 'Sailing on a Stormy Sea'), Symphony X and Yngwie Malmsteen (the power/neo-classical style of the riffs) but also oriental ways ('Asia') and soundtracks ('Stay'), Nikolaou manages to present an album with a clear signature and rather accessible; to this assist the hyper-melodic refrains of West who retains the AOR (ala Boals, Soto) character in his voice. Unfortunately, this unavoidably leads sometimes to 'cheesy' passages, especially on the mellower tracks ('Nostalgia', 'We'). The album leaves a positive taste, albeit with a scent of lack of originality. Somewhere, somehow these ideas have been heard again - not necessarily combined in the same way, so this is where 'Mythodea' potentially makes it up.
With room for improvement in terms of originality and potentially a move away from the 'standard' symphonic progressive metal tag, the next effort of 'Mythodea' could be a real masterpiece. The debut album is certainly a very good release, and potentially the album of the year in its category. It's time for the super-groups to come up with even more groundbreaking albums.
3.5 mythological stars for this (add 0.5-1 stars if you are a genre fanatic) album that will definitely spin a few more times in my playlist
Best moments: Another World, Asia, Mnemosyne, Sailing on a Stormy Sea