Pyramaze – Contingent

I was a bit of a latecomer to PYRAMAZE fandom – I was aware of them for the last decade, but never really delved into their music too much. Fast forward to 2015 and Disciples of the Sun, the band’s first album with Terje Harøy, and it completely blew me away. In fact, I gave the album a perfect 10/10 and ranked it at number five on my best of 2015 list. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to see them play an amazing live set at ProgPower USA XVII and I’ve been listening to the new album Contingent (out April 28 on Inner Wound Recordings) for the last two months. Spoiler alert: It’s great!

If you enjoyed Disciples of the Sun, you’re going to love Contingent: it’s as simple as that. The new album is a direct successor of that beautiful album that capitalizes on the success that they had with the sound and continuing to expand on it. The songwriting is top notch and the playing remains simply amazing. Terje’s voice continues to absolutely blow me away, and the way that guitars of Jacob Hansen and Toke Skjønnemand and keyboards from Jonah Weingarten both duel with and complement each other provides the perfect frame for his singing. Morten Sørensen is a monster on the drums and backs up every song perfectly, along with Jacob’s excellent bass work.

Contingent has a bit of a more progressive feel to it than the last release, but it’s not a radical change and it doesn’t make me, a committed power metal dork, unhappy at all. The overall theme of the album is quite a bit darker – there’s a post-apocalyptic concept to it that also showcases a spirit of redemption and powerful spirit as well. The production was all done by Jacob Hansen, who produces albums by some of the biggest names in European metal, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that it’s top shelf.

Some of my favorite songs are the more melodic ones. “Obsession” and “The Tides That Won’t Change” (with guest Kristen Foss performing a duet with Terje) completely sold me on this album the first time I heard them. “Land of Information”, “Kingdom of Solace”, and the two “Contingent” interludes showcase Jonah’s excellent synth work perfectly, and tracks like “20 Second Century” and “Under Restraint” provide more of a harder driving sound that are just awesome. There’s really not a weak track on the disc, and I can be pretty fussy, so that’s saying a lot.

So, should you pick this up? In a heartbeat. If you enjoy excellent power or progressive metal, you’re going to love this, and like its predecessor, it should be a must have for your music collection.

STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM, without a doubt!

RATING: 10/10


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