It's quite odd that doom metal like this brings back those memories. The records I listened to were not doom. Metal was something that my parents either didn't know or found a bit too occult and satanic for a young child like me. Yet, at one point I discovered rock and metal and I was lost for all eternity. Luckily, eternity comes with some good music and that's what we're here for.
Desolate Pathway hails from London, UK and was founded in 2014 by former Pagan Altar and Sacrilege member Vince Hempstead. The music of choice was traditional doom metal in the most appropriate meaning of the word. It takes the genre back to the old days of Candlemass and Trouble and somehow found a way to fit in perfectly with today's doom scene and become a strong competitor.
The album opens with title track 'The Valley Of The King' which incorporates all the nessecary elements to become a classic doom track. And by 'classic' I don't only mean that it resembles the vintage form of the genre perfectly but also that this is a massive song. Strong, old school riffs, energetic drums and clean but forceful vocals make up for an amazing journey to the glorydays of doom metal.
The cool thing about these vocals, is the fact that they breathe a victorious, grand and heroic atmosphere. A bit like Manowar does actually. It's been a while since I heard this kind of vocals but they're awesome, period. This feeling continues throughout the entire album and are partially responsible for the fact that this is turning out to become a highlight in this year's doom scene.
'Desolate Pathway' (the song) continues with this epic songwriting and massive riffs. You can almost feel the heroic battles, the clattering of swords and the piercing of lances beyond the music. This song too reminds me a bit of Manowar, hence the mental images of warfare and feats of arms. In 'Forest Of Mirrors' the tempo goes up a bit, reaching an early hard rock sound.
Another candidate to become a 'classic' doom metal album is the epic 'Last Of My Kind' which drives on a simple but effective bassline and great drums. The latter are actually pretty damn good on all songs, a quite original approach in comparison with many modern day doom bands. 'Season Of The Witch' once again digs deep into vintage hard rock.
Three other songs follow the ones I mentioned in this review and each of them is another great piece of old school rock music. What Desolate Pathway does, is nothing new but somehow they managed to create their unique blend of highly enjoyable hard rock and doom metal. 'Valley of the King' should not be seen as a debut but as a continuance of Vince Hempstead's journey to create the ultimate doom album. They come very close with this one.