Shadows of a Broken Past is the third album by British symphonic power metallers Pythia, released in December 2014. With catchy songs, a heavy guitar driven sound and the powerful voice of Emily Alice Ovenden, they show once again they’re at the top of the British scene.
The album is full of thundering riffs and punchy drumming, accentuated by the twinkling sound of melodic keyboards in the background. Add frequent short solos bursting forth, displaying fretboard gymnastics, as well as Emily’s excellent operatic voice and there’s a sense of power which is ironically all to often missing from power metal. The songs themselves are mostly catchy and upbeat, with fun choruses, especially in The King’s Ruin and Sword of Destiny. But while they have a fun upbeat sound, they avoid the trap of becoming overly saccharine or cheesy, thanks to the heavy galloping guitar sound which in tandem with the pounding drums drive the songs forward, while the keys are never overbearing and the solos don’t outstay their welcome.
Emily’s voice is strong throughout the album, whether singing softly in the verses, or belting it out operatically in the choruses; her tone is somewhat similar to Tarja Turunen, albeit with an English accent, rather than the Finn’s. And this goes really with the medieval theme of the lyrics, as does the galloping heaviness, all combining to conjure up images of historical battles and romances in British history, and the result is really engrossing songs. You can tell from the rousing choruses and the energy that a lot of the songs here will go down great in the band’s future live sets.
Pythia have released an impressve album here, heavy, fun and catchy. They seem to improve on each album, and with the medieval themes and Emily’s vocal talents they seem to be carving their own niche in the symphonic metal scene.