PRYDAIN – The Gates Of Aramore (Album Review)

Release Date: June 02nd 2023 - Limb Music

PRYDAIN - The Gates Of Aramore

Prydain is a power metal band from the USA formed in 2020 by guitarist Austin Dixon (ex Sonic Prophecy) – the band completed by keyboard player Jonah Weingarten (Catalyst Crime, Pyramaze), guitarist/bass player/producer Bob Katsionis (Outloud, Stray Gods, Warrior Path, Wonders), and vocalist Mike Livas (Silent Winter), not to mention the array of guest musicians who contributed guitar solos – Mikael Dahl (Crystal Eyes), Jens Ludwig (Edguy), and Jimmy Hedlund (Marius Danielsen, ex Falconer), and additional vocals – David Akesson (Qantice), John Yelland (Judicator, ex Dire Peril), Stefani Keogh (Nergard), and Harry Tadayon (The Exiled). Phew! What a gathering of awesome musical talent…

…releasing Prydain‘s debut album ‘The Gates Of Aramore’ in 2023, featuring ten songs blending symphonic power with the majesty of progressive metal – symphonic progressive power metal, you might say! Not to mention the album’s huge cinematic feel – the narration led ‘Sword & Sorcery’ opening the album to a backdrop of tension fuelled keyboards, moving into an epic crescendo that simply builds and builds, finally letting loose with (album opener proper) the title song ‘The Gates Of Aramore’.

And a pace and power befitting the tag “European power metal”, for ‘The Gates Of Aramore’ (the song) shares more in common with the European sound than the American one! However, as is usual with the progressive style of (any) metal, the band slow down to a majestic stroll, the oomph of the opening half a minute or so taking a back seat – only to return across the chorus break emphatically! With so many seasoned musicians on show, the influences and inspirations for the album are far-reaching, stretching boundaries to new limits, the one and half minute instrumental ‘Lands Beyond’ creating a dynamic cinematic feel that’ll take your breath away and raise the hairs on your forearms to new heights! So much tension and anticipation is woven into ‘Lands Beyond’ that your jaw will literally hit the floor. Hard! Very Hard! ‘Sail The Seas’ has got a lot to live up to after that introduction – and it does! The bombastic barrage of symphonic progressive power metal cascading from the speakers is astounding, grandiose, and regal. It’s like the big number in a play or the finale of an opera – the standout song that makes you go “wow”. And that’s exactly what ‘Sail The Seas’ does!

The swagger of the album so far has been out of this world, a short high-velocity intro breathing life into the ground, shaking ‘Quest Of The Fallen’ – displaying much more pace and power than any of the songs heard up to this point. For a new band, Prydain has gelled very quickly, the experience of all the musicians involved proving key to the band’s success – success measured by how infectious, innovative, and intriguing each and every song on offer is! ‘Way Of The Forest’ is the next amazing offering to keep you hooked, replete with sound effects that actually make you feel like you’re walking in a forest! And when the music kicks in – fucking hell! Prydain takes regal and majestic to new heights – ‘Way Of The Forest’ is a humongous hymn-like stroll full of mouth-watering moments and ear-pleasing passages! I just can’t emphasise enough how dramatic the music on offer here is – I will keep trying, though! Now, where’s my thesaurus! The narration gives life to ‘Ancient Whispers’, building to a crescendo and taking off at high speed – probably the fastest of any song on offer. And even when the customary “progressive metal” slowdown occurs, the oomph and oof remain at incredible levels! And the chorus break hurtles by at speed too – the band constantly changing gears, keeping the listener well and truly on their toes as to which path ‘Ancient Whispers’ will take next!

And the phenomenal pace of the previous song, is well and truly alive – ‘Blessed & Divine’ taking on the title of the fastest song heard so far, adopting the iconic gallop of traditional heavy metal as it gets going proper. The band is in a devastating mood, delivering eargasms to every listener, fan and follower! Multiple eargasms, too – for the longer ‘The Gates Of Aramore’ has progressed, the better and better it’s become! Prydain has hit the sweet spot with their debut offering – and there are still two more songs to go! The first is the ten-minute ‘Kingdom Fury’ – opening with an elegant majesty greater than previously heard. The band are definitely at the “big finale” stage of the album, with ‘Kingdom Fury’ deserving of a standing ovation accompanied by a deafening roar of applause and cheers of delight! What a grandstand in the final ten minutes of ‘The Gates Of Aramore’. But hang on a minute, it’s not the end just yet – I got carried away in all the excitement of ‘Kingdom Fury’. There’s still one song remaining – the two and a half minute ‘Magic & Mystery’, ending the album in the same way it began, with a huge cinematic feel set to a backdrop full of tension and intrigue. ‘The Gates Of Aramore’ is simply a breathtaking journey that has to be savoured time and time again. So make sure you know where the replay button is, ’cause you’re gonna be pressing it many, many times.

 Overall, an astounding album of symphonic progressive power metal with an immense cinematic feel, ‘The Gates Of Aramore’ is simply sensational.


Sword & Sorcery
The Gates Of Aramore
Lands Beyond
Sail The Seas
Quest Of The Fallen
Way Of The Forest
Ancient Whispers
Blessed & Divine
Kingdom Fury
Magic & Mystery

Prydain: Facebook

Release Year: 2023
Label: Limb Music
Category: Album
Country: USA

Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire and Metal-Roos.