Pythia – Shadows of a broken past


Reviewed by:
On December 3, 2014
Last modified:December 3, 2014


With this album it's a case of "Good but could have been better"

Pythia - Shadows of a broken pastBritish symphonic metal band Pythia are about to release their third and almost certainly final album – “Shadows of a broken past”.  As with the first two albums, this one has been mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen.  The album cover was created by Claudio Bergamin who has previously produced album covers for acts including Rob Halford and Battle Beast.

Brief comments on a few tracks……

The album opens with “The Kings ruin”.  I’ve got mixed views on this track as there are some good points and some bad.  There’s a nice strong instrumental opening which gets the album off to a good start, but then during the verses things go horribly wrong – the first part is fine then for the second part of it the keyboards kick in and ruin it.  The keyboards seem to be a case of one note played repeatedly very quckly and add nothing to the song – in fact they detract from an otherwise good song.   It’s a fast heavy song that could be hugely improved by removing the keyboards.  After the really well done keyboards on previous albums this really is a disappointment.

Next up is “Sword of destiny” which features a spoken (ok shouting) intro from legendary actor Brian Blessed, who also contributed to the band’s first album.  The song is one that will probably appeal to fans of Pythia’s earlier albums as it’s got a similar style.

“Moon on the mountain” is another one that has good and bad.  While much of the song is very good, I’m really not keen on the vocals for large parts of this song.

With the keyboard intro to “The Highwayman” the new keyboard player redeems himself slightly after the dreadful keyboards on “The King’s ruin”.  Sadly once the intro ends the harpsichord sounding keyboards just don’t suit the song – they’re too jangly and sound out of place.  That’s a shame as the song itself is very good.

The album is the longest one from the band to date, clocking in at 54 minutes.  Most of the songs are around 5 minutes long with just a couple of short ones. “Your eternity” is an apt name for the longest song the band have ever released, weighing in at over seven and a half minutes.

Overall this is a very good album but I’m really not impressed by the keyboards on it – at several points they really do detract from an otherwise strong song.  The album contains some great tracks – the songs are well written and the guitar work is particularly good and the drumming is fast and hard and never sounds anything other than perfect, but the vocals and keyboards let the album down.  Not all the song’s are top class though – there are some weaker ones too.  I’ve been a fan of Pythia since well before the first album was released and think Emily has a great voice, but on this album her vocals just don’t sound as good as I would expect them to.  With this album it’s a case of “Good but could have been better”.

Fans who order the CD from Genepool also get a free download of a 4 track covers EP.

The covers EP contains four tracks and they aren’t obvious choices to cover – artists covered are Tori Amos, Fleetwood Mac, Shakespears sister and Iron Maiden.  I’m guessing at least one of these tracks was planned for the EP the band were due to release a couple of years ago but which never materialised.

First up is “Winter”, a Tori Amos song. It’s an odd choice to cover and is a song that just doesn’t really work here as everything feels subdued, like the guys are playing at half power.  While Emily’s vocals sound good, it’s only occasionally that her voice shows what she can do, but most of the time she seems to be taking it easy.

The Fleetwood Mac cover, “Little lies” is next.  I’m sorry but my main thought while listening to this was “Please god make it end” – they’ve taken a superb song and ruined it.  The vocals are nowhere near as good as the original, and it feels like they’re rushing through it.

Finally we get to a good cover – “Stay” by Shakespears sister.  Emily’s voice suits the song perfectly and her vocals sound great here.  Where the original had two sets of female vocals, here Pythia have brought in a guest vocalist to perform the second part but instead of a second female singer they’ve gone for Niklas Isfeldt of Dream Evil.  It works really well.  Musically it’s done very well too.  Definitely the highlight of the EP.

The final cover is Iron Maiden’s “Only the good die young”.  As the only “metal” song here then it’s obviousy a better fit for Pythia than Tori Amos, and the cover is very good.  I’m guessing most people won’t immediately recognise it as an Iron Maiden song unless they know the original well as this cover sounds more like a typical Pythia song than Iron Maiden.  A very good cover.

The covers EP is by far the worst thing Pythia have ever released (then again to be fair the albums have all been very good so this is being compared against a high standard) – two poor cover versions plus a good one and a great one, but as it’s a freebie for people buying the album I suppose we can’t complain too much, but it does seem a shame to release something that is so weak overall.

“Shadows of a broken past” will be released on 8th December 2014

Track listing:

1. The King’s Ruin
2. Sword Of Destiny
3. Moon On the Mountain
4. War Games
5. The Highwayman
6. Bring Me Home
7. Yellow Rose
8. Your Eternity
9. The Key
10. Broken Paradise

Covers EP tracklisting:

1. Winter
2. Little lies
3. Stay
4. Only the good die young

With this album it's a case of "Good but could have been better"

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.