Have you heard of King Evagoras of Salamis (located in modern Cyprus)? I also do not. The Cypriots of Masar Al-Arian take this marginal number in history as an opportunity to release a concept album called “Thus Always To Tyrants”. Historians who wish to shed light on this phase of history in this region may forgive my ignorance, but one cannot know everything, no.
Massar Al-Arian is generally considered to be a nerdy band with its mixture of Power Metal, rocky elements, and oriental influences. Unfortunately, with this mixture they are still suspended underground and have not been able to break through the glass ceiling in the metal yet. It’s a shame actually, because in their niche they’re known for releasing quality albums.
So Always To Tyrants, as mentioned, is a conceptual album and also musically, we walk through a tonal garden in which the story takes place. For 64 minutes, we experience how Evagoras love, suffer and fight. I guess I don’t know the story. As mentioned. This reminds me a bit of early AYREON in the particular case with only one singer and no arsenal of performers.
The album actually has it all, fast-paced Power Metal tracks, groovy moments and mid-tempo songs. From European metal to oriental influences you have it all here. Nicholas Leptos’ voice shines above that. From the solemn timbre to the highest notes, the singer truly masters everything a metal disc needs. Some singers can learn a lot from that.
As mentioned earlier, the songs are very diverse, sometimes thick-edged, sometimes covered in thick plastic. It happens time and time again that keys make guitars disappear. This takes some edge off the album. Moreover, one chorus or the other (“Oh Dark Tears (Aftermath”, “In Salamis”) turns out to be rich and a little over the edge. But that’s the point of the criticism. The album does better after a few hits, many rounds then You won’t let go.Of course you have to be patient, but it’s definitely worth it.
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