The calliope-like entrance to Atlas Pain’s Tales Of A Pathfinder (Scarlet Records) heralds the auspicious story that encompasses the journey of a lifetime. It’s a wonderful ride that reveals a new world and the pinnacle of the folk metal sound. In true folk metal sound, the sound is jaunty and evokes a visage of happy square dancing in a courtyard. From start to finish, Tales of a Pathfinder feels like what Hobbits and Dwarves having a party together would play for their guests. You get the sense that the mead is flowing generously and some sort of beast is being slow-cooked on a spit over an open flame.
Listening to Atlas Pain’s Tales Of A Pathfinder inspires joy. Some songs evoke a sense of triumphant power while others, like ‘A Moving Empire’ and ‘Kia Kaha’, conjure a sense of wonder. You can’t listen to the latter without wanting to dance! The keyboard flows behind the music like a never-ending blue wave. At times the keyboard reminds me of 8-bit music, other times it has shades of video game backing music, and sometimes it reminds me of the keyboards in anime. Samuele Faulisi and Fabrizio Tartarini’s guitar playing on ‘Hagakure’s Way’ reminds me of the last few Iron Maiden albums. To wit, some of Louie Raphael’s bass playing has a lightly galloping cadence. Riccardo Floridia’s drumming offers amazing support to Atlas Pain. His playing propels the songs forward, provides gravitas, and punctuates the rhythm. This really shines in the first thirty seconds of ‘Odauolegur’.
There is a lighthearted fun that emanates from Tales Of A Pathfinder. Epic is a word I would use to describe the storyline. The more you listen to the album, the more invested in it you become. It’ll take several listens (barring having a lyric sheet) to fully understand the subtle nuances of the story. It’s as if Atlas Pain took a fantasy book or a Pathfinder RPG with all that sense of wonder and adventure and translated it to music and lyrics. It’s impossible to listen to this album and not be inspired to greatness.
7 / 10