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Pyramaze - Immortal (CD)

by Grigoris Chronis at 26 May 2008, 11:38 AM

Matt Barlow in PYRAMAZE…wow…When I heard the news - was it one year ago? - I could not help myself but think Matt who?. Since his departure from ICED EARTH also resulted in a kinda different way of life (at least, in profession) it was not an easy task to see what he'd accomplish singing in this notable Danish Heavy/Power Metal act. Then, the 'Barlow re-joins ICED EARTH' news struck hard and now Immortal hits the stores. And I think ICED EARTH should shortly release a very good album to overlap this fine CD.
The fact that the third release by PYRAMAZE features Matt Barlow (even if, as we speak, Matt seems to no longer sing for PYRAMAZE due to his 'IC return') should not trap us by neglecting two crucial facts: i) both 2004's Melancholy Beast and 2006's Legend Of The Bone Carver proved to be more than remarkable CDs for the 'once quintet, now sextet' act, ii) prior to Barlow, the astonishing vocals of Lance King (BALANCE OF POWER, EMPIRE, etc) paved the way for PYRAMAZE to build a strong name in the worldwide 'heavy' Power Metal scene. Plus: whoever the 'shining star' in a Metal band can be, still the base (music/lyrics/sound) is built by some hidden 'diamond'. And here the Oscar goes to Michael Kammeyer.
Michael - in my humble opinion - has succeeded in three things since he gave life to PYRAMAZE in 2002. Firstly, he has preserved most of the original 'players' lineup resulting in putting up a concrete and integrated musical background in all albums, and ii) his choice on vocalists is simply outstanding, while iii) on top of all, his creativity but also multi-influentiallity (is there such a word, really?) elegantly avoids sounding straightforwardly like 'something else' while personal elements climb up in foreground scales.
Thus, in Immortal we see PYRAMAZE expanding what fans had the chance to hear in prior due to the band's sample offerings of two tracks (Year Of The Phoenix and Caramon's Poem). The riffing is heavy and fat, the keys add up enough atmosphere without - however - challenging for a dominant role, the bass/drums lines are pounding and strict and varying, while the vocals of Matt are as great as always; no need to worry. The solo themes by the guitars are of full spirit, well-worked, and dual-working at times. If you always thought PYRAMAZE had enough ICED EARTH 'ingredients' in their music, then in this album you'll meet some more. Fact is PYRAMAZE had written music in the past with one and a half eye to the US Power Metal scenarios, still the 'Northern' quarter is also honoured, even if it takes more than half a dozen of spins to come up with this argument.
The songs: I got hooked on Ghost Light; it starts off in a wild mid-pace double-bass mood with majestic keys lead bursting out, then to co-exchange choir chorus vocals and some dramatic singing by Barlow. The rhythm/lead guitar licks add that 'IC something' portion, the interlude upgrades the whole tune into an 'epic' track and the first part of the solo stands proud in the ultra-MAIDEN way. Shadow Of The Beast filters a semi-prog mood with some Scandinavian Power Metal tendency, while Year Of The Phoenix comes as close to a 'European' ICED EARTH you can get and Legacy In A Rhyme will act as the perfect half-time; a strings/piano/vocals song with enough of SAVATAGE/EDGUY/IC bringing to mind. The Highland, on the other hand, flirts with traditional/folk Metal ideas, yet always under the relative volume/sound 'prism'.
Is Immortal the perfect album? No, since many fans may find it a little bit single-dimensional. In addition, the duration of the CD is of not more than 45 minutes, and especially the juvenile consumers, used to 60-minutes-plus of music-meets-fillers, may be critical to this fact. Still, I believe Immortal is worth your money if you're 'into' their music or you like your Metal being 'rich' in volume yet ample and 'Power'.

3 Star Rating

Year Of The Phoenix
Ghost Light
Touched By The Mara
A Beautiful Death
Legacy In A Rhyme
Caramon's Poem
The Highland
Shadow Of The Beast
March through An Endless Rain
Matt Barlow - Vocals
Jonah Weingarten - Keyboards
Michael Kammeyer - Guitars
Toke Skjonnemand - Guitars
Niels Kvist - Bass
Morten G. Sorensen - Drums
Record Label: Locomotive Records


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