Christian Münzner has always been an underappreciated name in the landscape of shred despite being more versatile than some of his peers; spanning all the way from Jazz fusion themed death metal to instrumental neoclassical power metal and Path of the Hero goes on to show off his skills as a songwriter.
Path of the Hero is a power metal record which has the potential to turn away listeners who discovered Münzner through Obscura and Necrophagist and are expecting to find technical death metal. However, they will still be met with the same brand of high-speed technical proficiency displayed in his tenure with Obscura.
The album begins with lead single, “Knight Rider”, a song that would not be out of place on a Yngwie Malmsteen album and continues on the same pace with “Demon Angel” and it’s within the first few tracks that problems start to make themselves known; the main point is that the songs begin to blend together towards the middle portion of the record.
While there are some exceptions like “Blades of the Brotherhood” which features a flamenco style acoustic guitar solo, most of the record blends together which is probably intentional as a vast amount of shred records are best experienced all at once as opposed to being consumed on a track by track basis.
Songs like “Wing Commander” strongly feature a harpsichord synth line which helps add layers to the tracks and keeps the album from becoming as monotonous as it could be and helps add to the Neo-Classical metal feel and shows off the Neo-Classical influence that Münzner has clearly worked incredibly hard to imitate over the years and the skill involved is without a doubt, infinitely impressive.
None of the songs featured on this album are poorly made or written but the record would have benefited from a vocalist, particularly on songs like “Marchers of Valhalla” and title track “Path of the Hero” as a number of guitar melodies sound like vocal lines and could perhaps have been written for a vocalist at one point and could have aided in giving the record a bit more variety.
Overall; Christian Münzner’s Path of the Hero is a fairly standard shred record but it still manages to show of Münzner’s talents and benefits from multiple listens for the record to fully sink in. This may be a problem for many of his peers in shred but the album is short enough that it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and is likely to impress people looking for technicality but it does have the potential to turn off listeners that are looking for more than that.
Path of the Hero is available March 11th via King Records