Pyramaze – Disciples of the Sun (Inner Wound Recordings)Thursday, 7th May 2015
In the realm of power metal, superior musicianship and an upper tier vocalist will always carry you above the masses. Take international act Pyramaze (mostly Danish, partially American)- they’ve been fortunate to record with quite a stable through the years: Lance King would sing on their first two albums Melancholy Beast and Legend of the Bone Carver, while Matt Barlow took over for 2008’s Immortal before returning to Iced Earth in his second go around. In the 7 year interim between that record and their current Disciples of the Sun, they’ve lost another singer (Urban Breed toured with the band in 2008), plus decade long guitarist Michael Kammeyer and bassist Niels Kvist. Talk about rebuilding… and yet the band comes out invigorated and inspired based on my numerous playbacks for this 12 track, 52 minute record.
When you gain a guitarist/producer the caliber of Jacob Hansen, the ship should steer in the right direction – as his seasoned sensibilities give Pyramaze a vibrant, emotional tension necessary to keep songs like “The Battle of Paridas” and the heavier, almost Nevermore-ish “Fearless” at the top of mind. Keyboardist Jonah Weingarten has intuitive hooks boiling through his body, making “Back for More” and “Hope Springs Eternal” two highlights – both containing a lot of darker qualities that make Kamelot a mainstay. The quintet excel at accenting the right riffs with subtle time changes or counterpoint rhythms – which allow for deeper appreciation through multiple exposures on cuts such as “Genetic Process” or “When Black Turns to White”.
And then there’s latest vocalist Terje Horøy, a 30-something Norwegian that has a small discography in comparison to his compatriots. No matter – as he has the wide range, personality, and capability to sing soft passages in progressive restraint for the ominous short closer “Photograph” as well as hit all of the Khan/Tate bird call notes with a little Russell Allen grit and grace thrown in for good measure during the sweeping title cut.
I’ll say that if you take seven years between records and have a firm grasp on your style, chances are more than average that you’ll come out with superior product. In Pyramaze’s case, they have upped their game, and possibly created the power metal effort of 2015.