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Pyramid - Rage

Pyramid
Rage
by Jamie Hollis at 23 January 2023, 12:54 AM

An 85 minute prog metal mammoth! This is an album I’m glad I stumbled across. When you see 3 songs on an album that break the 10 minute barrier, you know you’ve got some good musicianship taking place and that’s exactly the case with PYRAMID’s “Rage”. If you’re a fan of DREAM THEATER or TOOL and fancy something new, this is the place for you. With a great production by Adam Bentley, this album is the full package for prog metallers to indulge and marvel at.

“Greed” is a good initial statement for this album which doesn’t hang around. Instead, it just starts. What can I say other than it’s proggy? It’s mostly at a speed and time signature which one can comprehend, it’s fairly melodic throughout and carries a great message with plenty of energy. Literally nothing to complain about. (Just a side note - For an album which involves Tim “Ripper” Owens so much, I can’t help but notice that one of the first riffs you hear is very similar to that of “Victim Of Changes” by JUDAS PRIEST.)

“Empty Roads” is a more somber number which has Andry Lagiou on vocals. It has a lovely section in the middle that takes us briefly down a slightly middle Eastern road which is very intriguing. The track as a whole seems to tell an intense story of being separated from a loved one and perhaps journeying towards them on empty roads as the title suggests. It’s a very nice atmosphere to sit through for 8 minutes. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the title track to be honest. It is of course a work of art just like everything else on this album, but I just didn’t feel the same sort of purpose or energy as I did on some of the other tracks. For one of the shortest tracks on the album, it seems to have a lot of endlessly meandering guitar sections which I can’t really complain about because this is prog, but they still could’ve approached it in a different way I think.

Beast – Now we’re into some of the real beef on this album as we open the 11 minute story of the “Beast”. A few minutes in, we reach our first proper progressive polyrhythms where the shear skill of this band comes to light. There’s phenomenal instrumentalism all round and the song just drives forward effortlessly until it breaks into a wonderfully bliss state around the 5:30 mark accompanied by a stunning guitar solo. That could be my favourite passage of music on the album to be honest. A repeated chorus drives this song down your ear canal and keeps it glued in your head for quite a while. Great track. Some of the riffs in “Control” really hit the spot on the heavy scale. Right in the Goldilocks zone – Not too fast or heavy and not too slow or calm. There’s plenty of energy from the start of this track and the vibe survives the track comfortably.

Next up, the shortest track on the album. I can’t say I enjoyed “Magic”. It suffered the same lack of purpose as the title track, but I have no doubt that if I were to return to this track alone and outside of the context of the album then it would probably be great. One of the many perks with prog I feel. Next, a straight up attack on governments. “Tyranny” is a violent protest against all things power and control. The lyrics highlight the fact that governments will make you listen to their rules but they won’t listen to anything you say back to them. I have to say, the structures and the time signatures in this one had me stumped quite a lot so I once again take my hat off to the sensational musicianship here, and with a lyrical message as strong as the musicianship, it makes for an excellent track before we plunge into some more beef…

We are introduced to “Slayer” with an absolutely killer intro with some intense riff work in a comfortably standard time signature before everything starts getting a bit more complicated. There’s a lovely little hint of piano and organ briefly in there somewhere which is so blissful in the breaks between the screams and carnage. It’s a quick 10 minutes, but I would’ve liked more dynamics. A bit of peace and quiet would’ve been nice to allow time to absorb the message of this track. To be honest though, this song is overshadowed by what follows it on the album.

“Dungeons and Dragons”. When you finally arrive at the end of this album, you are greeted by a stunning piano and strings combination. This is exactly the sort of dynamic change that the album needed for this final chapter which clocks in at 20 minutes. Everything is mixed so beautifully by the way. It’s all exactly where you want it to be. As the tension builds, there is a cool middle Eastern or historical vibe to the melodies. Then Tim comes in when the music is heavy enough to fit him in. (I think they could’ve made more of a feature out of the intro and dragged it out a bit longer but it didn’t feel too rushed I suppose.) The song continues to unravel, and we’re taken on this very energetic journey seemingly towards death judging by the lyrics. Around the 11 minute mark there’s a break for something more sinister before a sort of breakdown with hints of the historical middle Eastern stuff from earlier in the song. The song continues through a maze of instrumental sections and then suddenly it’s over. It’s almost like we were shot halfway through a battle. I don’t know if that was intentional, but I found it quite discomforting and not a very satisfying way to end the album. But hey, this is prog. You get what you’re given. They probably meant it.

Overall, “Rage” is a great album that demonstrates some exceptional musicianship and song writing. Fair play to PYRAMID for pulling it off. It’s definitely a progressive metal masterpiece along with all the rest of them. It’s hard to listen to something like this without having immense appreciation for the musicians behind it all. I take my hat off to PYRAMID and hope to hear from them again soon.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Greed
2. Empty Roads
3. Rage
4. Beast
5. Control
6. Magic
7. Tyranny
8. Slayer
9. Dungeons And Dragons
Lineup:
Tim “Ripper” Owens - Vocals
Lance Sawyer - Bass
Mike Abdow - Guest musician
Harry Conklin - Guest musician
Andry Lagiou - Guest musician
Adam Bentley - Guest musician
Joey Izzo - Guest musician
Perrine Bakubama - Guest musician
Chris Quirarte - Guest musician
Record Label: Sleaszy Rider Records
     


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Edited 04 February 2023
 

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