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Pathfinders - Ares Vallis

Ares Vallis
by John Foley at 09 June 2021, 6:31 AM

Coming from Fontainebleau in France we got groove metal band PATHFINDNERS, who named themselves after the Mars Pathfinder probe launch from NASA that was back in December 1996. The band was formed back in 2018 after they all got to know each other whole playing in separate bands. Their new album, “Ares Vallis", was released in April 2021 and is really for fans of LAMB OF GOD, PERIPHERY, IN FLAMES and PARKWAY DRIVE.

Kicking things off we have the intro track “Landing". This is quite atmospheric with sci-fi horror vibes to it. A count down then starts to lead us into the first song which is “Impostors". Right from the start we get sinister guitars and double bass from the drums with a lead guitar line to complement it. With some really decent grooves going on the song then switches to a sort of djent style and then a bit of doom for the chorus. The vocals fit with what is going on and we get a pretty cool guitar solo too. Strong opener.

After that one we have “Damned Earth" and from the start of this one the song hits like a ton of bricks. This one is a real circle pit starter. Some nice vocal switch for the chorus and some cool guitar work going here to as this is filled with great rhythms and grooves. The song “Precious Star" has this killer riff for its intro and I loved those thunderous drums coming in. It has this big chorus with some clean vocals and you can hear that the band are working well here. When the breakdown hits you get this feeling they want to build to something big to which then we are hit with a guitar solo.

The song “The Light” opens with this clean guitar melody which are being backed by the drums and bass. The vocals then adds to this atmosphere and this track is very different to the rest of the tracks that appear on the album with its other worldly vibe. The band then goes big to lead the song out. This one is worth checking out. The track “Ghosts of Mars" (no connection to the 2001 sci-fi action horror movie that I am aware of) has this cool intro with some killer riffing going on and drumming to match. There are lots of sing along sections here and the grooves really carry the song. I really liked this one too as the lead lines really add something to the track. The breakdown is great and heavy which makes for a real head banger.

The last song on the album we have “Peste Noire" and with this one the band are going out with a bang. Those heavy grooves hit right away and the drums really shine here as this song has a nice flow to it. We get a very melodic chorus and some cool guitar stuff going on too. The song goes right down to some clean melodies which then switches to heavy guitars but keeps that same melody going as epic solos hit us. After that the song then plays out with strings and soft piano which almost sounds like a movie score.

All the songs here on “Ares Vallis" have a really decent groove to them. PATHFINDERS play around with lots of different styles and you can almost here some of their influences. With the vocals they work well with certain parts but at times it struggles a bit to fit in. But with that being said these songs are some real circle pit starters and if you are a fan of groove metal it is worth checking out.

Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Musicianship: 9
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Landing
2. Imposters
3. Damned the Earth
4. Evolution
5. Precious Star
6. Explode Inside
7. Annihilate Them All
8. The Light
9. Pressure
10. Ghosts of Mars
11. Bad Guardian
12. Peste Noire
Benjamin Daguet – Guitar
Jérémy Gaucher – Bass
Jérémy Barthelemy – Drums
Clément Levy – Vocals
Romain Gaucher – Guitar
Record Label: Music-Records


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