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Pyramid - Validity Award winner

Pyramid
Validity
by Kevin Lewis at 24 January 2022, 1:42 PM

PYRAMID is an American Progressive/Power Metal band formed in 2017. Pulled together by bassist Lance Sawyer and featuring tons of world class musicians, this one is done with vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens, who has been very busy in the last few years. The guest musicians on this record are all phenomenal on their respective instruments, leading to a well-made record that is hard to not love. Validity is the fourth full-length record for PYRAMID and was released on December 10, 2021, via Sleaszy Rider Records.

The record starts with an instrumental, aptly titled “Prelude.” The music starts off with a pretty cool rhythm, including some keyboards under the main riff that adds a bit of depth to this intro. The fun part is when the song transitions to an interpretation of EDVARD GRIEG’sIn the Hall of The Mountain King.” Similar to SAVATAGE’sPrelude to Madness” from 1987, this is a very rocked out version that slowly builds, then subsides, then ramps up again, then slows until the ending shred-fest. This version is impressive.

Resistance” is a slower, darker song at the onset. The riff is low and slow. The lighter guitar work over the top, along with the keys, add a good contrast to the tone of the rhythm guitar. The lower end vocals used to start the song are interesting. It’s not something you hear a lot of from “Ripper” Owens but do work well with his later falsetto belting. There is a lot of tension to this tune, but wouldn’t you expect that from a song called “Resistance?”

The longest track on the record is the title track, “Validity.” At 10 minutes long, it has the time, and uses that time well, to go through a lot of progressive elements. The tempo shift alone are spectacular, but added in with the guitar virtuosity shown throughout, this is a massive song with a lot to show. The sound is huge, and the overall effect is epic. It has everything you want from both power and progressive metal. Rarely does a song check every box this easily. There’s even the requisite bass fill to lead off a new section.

One of my favorites on the record is “Stigma.” That guitar riff, with the strings over it, really hooked me. The layered vocals, adding in the female range to the tones, beefed this one up to new heights. This is one of the songs I really hear the DREAM THEATER influences throughout. The rhythm, the riff, the shifts, even the keyboard tones, they all are reminiscent of some of the early works of DT. Everything about this song hooks me.

On a more melodic note, “Passage” is a bit of a change. More airy and ethereal, while still maintaining some brutality, this is a complex song with some interesting tension points that create an epic tune. The male and female vocals complement each other well, especially when the lower and higher male vocals already have a lot of contrast to them. I love the overall effect of this one. The guitars are more melodic and less shredding. The keys lighter, the strings even take their turn on top of the riff. All of that makes this a really killer song.

PYRAMID is an interesting beast. It seems a lot of “supergroup” type records have come out since the pandemic started. This fits well in that category, but the project pre-dates the pandemic. Four albums in five years is a serious accomplishment. Maybe the pandemic helped them have the time to put all this music together and to get it out to the general public. Either way, I’m glad it happened. This is seasoned musicians doing what they do best. Putting out killer albums with tons of great songs on it.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Prelude
2. Resistance
3. Validity
4. Mutiny
5. Stigma
6. Core
7. Velocious
8. Nepotism
9. Passage
10. A Story
11. Natural Cause
Lineup:
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
Lance Sawyer – Bass
Guest musicians:
Mike Abdow – Guitar
Andry Lagiou – Vocals
Adam Bentley – Guitar
Gabe Pietrzak – Guitar
Joey Izzo – Keyboards
James Knoerl – Drums
Perrine Missemer – Violin
Record Label: Sleaszy Rider Records
     


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