By now, it’s well known I drink up power metal, so when offered an exotic new Polish flavor, who could resist? Have you ever made a frozen concoction: margarita, daiquiri or smoothie, in an under powered blender, on the wrong speed and not left long enough to mix properly? While the resultant gelatinous mass contains identifiable hunks of the original contents, it’s digestible, but certainly not as tasty, nor appealing as the recipe hinted. Same is true of this ambitious (yet failed) musical cocktail, a mash-up of DRAGONFORCE, RHAPSODY, NIGHTWISH, all playing simultaneously. Add lengthy symphonic instrumental sections and a myriad of vocals styles (male: clean/falsetto, female: cooing, operatic and LEAVE’S EYES yodel: ‘Chronokinesis’), while lacking the tunefulness of the aforementioned and it might approach these Polish power metallers’ sophomore effort. There’s also a debt owed KAMELOT (the dual sex ballad ‘Yin Yang’), and even hints of the orchestrated hijinx of CRADLE OF FILTH. Not sure how many tracks were used in recording Fifth Element, but if they’d have thrown out half (or left them blank) the final product would have been less jumbled (perhaps more distinctly melodic) and enjoyable. There’s no doubting the talent, just too busy, lacking any vocal hooks. The European version contains an extra song (not sure what label would be handling this outside of the continent, but I digress), while the Japanese (via Avalon/Marquee label) get the Euro “bonus” and a cover of Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, bringing the total to 13. While it’s nice to see PATHFINDER attempting something outside of where national brew masters VADER, BEHEMOTH and DECAPITATED have succeeded, it remains an acquired taste. Bartender, I’d like to switch to something else!