Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review of Pyramaze's Disciples Of The Sun

Pyramaze was never a household name in the power metal community but they did achieve some recognition in the mid-2000s thanks to collaborations with such legendary singers as Lance King and Iced Earth’s own Matt Barlow. The band technically never split up but their status was called into question due to the departures of several members, including guitarist/main songwriter Michael Kammeyer. Their first album since 2008’s Immortal is a potentially questionable revival but one that is welcome all the same.

Considering how drummer Morten Gade Sorensen and keyboardist Jonah Weingarten are the only band members left that played on Melancholy Beast back in 2004, it isn’t too surprising to note that Disciples Of The Sun sounds a lot different than past efforts. Pyramaze has always leaned closer to the European end of the power metal spectrum, but the guitar tone lacks the Iced Earth-inspired crisp of before and Terje Haroy’s voice isn’t quite as distinctive as King or Barlow had been.

Fortunately, the performances are still worth praising. The vocals aren’t cast from the ideal power metal mold but they work well with the material and never feel too weak. In addition, the production job may be cleaner than before and the songs themselves are definitely more upbeat.

The skepticism that one feels when thinking about this lineup’s usage of the Pyramaze name also dissipates when one realizes the strength of their songwriting. The band’s original run had a degree of inconsistency that is largely avoided here. “The Battle of Paridas” comes the closest to matching their old style after coming off the swells of “We Are The Ocean” while songs like “Back For More” and “Fearless” charge in with furious optimism.

In an odd twist, Pyramaze’s fourth studio album could very well be the most consistent album that the band has ever put out. Its connection to past efforts is rather questionable but the sound isn’t too unrecognizable and the quality of the writing makes it difficult to really care all that much. It’s hard to say how things will go from here but this should be enjoyable for old and new listeners alike.

“The Battle of Paridas”
“Disciples Of The Sun”
“Back For More”

“Hope Springs Eternal”

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