I’ve been on a winning streak lately – just about everything I listen to seems to knock my socks off. I wasn’t sure if that was going to continue with Disciples Of The Sun (out May 26 via Inner Wound Recordings), the latest from PYRAMAZE. It’s been seven long years since their last album and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Luckily enough for me, I was once again made sockless in short order.
PYRAMAZE has been through some changes since Immortal came out in 2008 – Matt Barlow left and was replaced by Urban Breed, who in turn left in 2011, and both Michael Kammeyer (guitars) and Niels Kvist (bass) departed the band. After further review, however, these lineup changes have allowed a perfect storm of Danish & American awesome to form, and the result is Disciples Of The Sun.
I started listening to PYRAMAZE with Legend Of The Bone Carver, and fell in love with it and with the also excellent debut – Lance King’s voice really made those albums for me with his vocal range and melodic singing. I was less thrilled with Immortal, as I was never a huge Barlow fan. It grew on me in time, however. With the new album, there’s no accommodation or adaptation time – Terje Haroy just completely destroys my ears with his beautiful voice. While he doesn’t use any extreme range or screams, he manages to bring the songs to life with a full and robust voice that has almost an AOR feel to it at times. I could listen to him sing for hours. Actually, I have. This disc has not been out of my stereo for long over the last month, it’s that good.
The music is a definite change – more of a progressive metal vibe than their former progressive power sound, but it’s much more than that. PYRAMAZE has incorporated more of a classic progressive rock sound into this album that brings to my mind some of the great prog rock acts of the 70’s and 80’s, like ASIA and ELP – nothing directly descended from them, but some definite hints of the classic influences. It’s a rich, full sound with tons of riffs, great guitar solos that mesh perfectly with the insane keyboard melodies and some excellent drumming that alternates between intense double bass power and intricate progressive time signatures. Songs like “The Battle Of Paridas”, “Genetic Process”, and “Hope Springs Eternal” really show off the versatility of the band and further ascertain that they’re not just a garden variety progressive metal band, but a band at the top of their game.
Lately, I seem to be saying things like “the lyrics aren’t Shakespeare, but..” Not today, my friend. The lyrical content of Disciples of the Sun is deep and thought-provoking, and I don’t have any problem saying that I think that this is one of the best written albums that I’ve heard in a long time.
PYRAMAZE is back, and stronger than ever, with a release that’s going to wind up on many Top 10 lists for 2015. I know that it’s instantly vaulted into contention for my personal album of the year list. Just don’t wait another seven years, okay, guys?
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM. SERIOUSLY.