Pathfinder caught a lot of galloping power metallers off their stride when they released debut ‘Beyond The Space Beyond The Time’ in 2010. The Polish act conjured some feisty technical solos, expansive film score-influenced theatrics and soaring vocal melodies to produce a sound that outplayed that of their age.
In ‘Fifth Element’, Pathfinder retain their huge symphonic ideas and soundtrack ambition which draws obvious comparisons to Rhapsody Of Fire; certainly any fan of the Italian metallers could appreciate the fresh-faced Polish act. As you can imagine, it’s all very OTT; laced with neo-classical guitar moments, huge choir epics and vocal pitches that you squint your eyes at and wonder ‘just how does he get that high?’
Topping their debut was always a mammoth task and they don’t quite do it with the melodies on offer here. But what Pathfinder have done is provide a continuation of their massive sound, which is by no means a bad thing. ‘Fifth Element’ gets into gear immediately with the speedy tempo of ‘Ventus Ignis Terra Aqua’ but really gets going with the even bigger symphonies of ‘The Day When I Turn Back Time’. Power metal is typically melodramatic and what’s endearing about Pathfinder for many fans of the genre that is they have a complete lack of respect for minimalism. If there’s another layer to be added or another epic section to be explored, then why not do it? For those in need of a break, the ballady ‘Yin Yang’ slows things down mid-way before the tempestuous drum blasting and intense axe-slinging in ‘Elemental Power’.
As the outro of ‘Vita’ finishes ‘Fifth Element’ it’s clear that the Polish act have found their path and crafted another album to keep the heads of escapists among the clouds.