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Stygian Oath - Midnight Flames Award winner

Styigan Oath
Midnight Flames
by Kevin Lewis at 09 August 2022, 4:46 PM

STYGIAN OATH is a Greek Heavy/Power Metal band formed in 2015. Midnight Flame is their debut full-length album, released May 20, 2022, via Stormspell Records. It is nine tracks and 47 minutes of raucous music meant to inspire headbanging and lyric screaming. The guitars are quite wild with the riffs coming in heavy and the leads lightening the heaviness. The rhythms are solid, and the vocals range from power belting to soaring falsetto.

The record opens with a rapid-fire rhythm with a nice heavy riff over it. “Raging Skies” is a heavy song with a combination of vocal offerings that will be heard throughout this entire record. You get the lower end vocals with a bit of grit thrown in and a dynamic falsetto that will bring the greats to mind. Akis tends to hit his notes more like a Rob Halford than a King Diamond, but he has the range of either of those powerhouses.

Finger On the Trigger” is much the same stylistically, but a little less heavy. The tuning may not be changed, but the tones are a bit lighter. The leads are more melodic and have a nice fluidity to them. “Beyond The Grave” takes a more Doom/Sludge path with the main riff, chugging a little slower and lower on the neck of the guitars. The vocals still give the same range, showing these guys can write songs in any style for this singer.

Another killer, melodic song is “Midnight Flames,” the title track. STYGIAN OATH takes this song and wrap up many of the different elements of this record into one song. This one has some of the doom pacing with the airy lead work on the guitars and a mid-range tempo. They keep the vocal trends up, again showing they can cross from one genre to another and make the voice work wherever they want/need to.

Seven Years of Death” has a bit of a NWOBHM intro, then throws in a wild set of tones that shift the track, then come back to a more standard Heavy Metal styled song. The dual guitars on this track are really nice, very reminiscent of NWOBHM tandems from multiple bands.

The album concludes with “Holy Warrior,” an Epic Metal song. There are the twists and turns in the music that give it the Power Metal feel you need for the epic theme. This is the song you listen to as you head into battle. The guitars are melodic and uplifting, the rhythm is pounding, and the lyrics are chantable. And that fade out is exactly how an epic song of this magnitude should end.

STYGIAN OATH has produced a solid album full of good songs. They flow well between Heavy and Power Metal, giving fans of both something they can unite behind. They write catchy songs with great hooks and have a singer that is a throwback to the days of massive voices with extreme power and range. There is a lot to like here.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  9


4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Raging Skies
2. Finger on The Trigger
3. Beyond the Grave
4. Broken Mirror
5. Midnight Flames
6. Under the Gun
7. Seven Years of Death
8. Onward to Victory
9. Holy Warrior
Lineup:
Akis Daflis – Vocals
Panos Tsartsalis – Bass
Apostolos Tzotzis – Drums
Haris Vavalidis – Guitar
Alexandros Kyriazis – Guitar
Record Label: Stormspell Records
     


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