Pharaoh - The Longest Night - 2006 - Cruz Del Sur Music
1. Sunrise 2. I Am The Hammer 3. In The Violet Fire 4. By The Night Sky 5. Endlessly 6. The Longest Night 7. Fighting 8. Like A Ghost 9. Up The Gates 10. Never run
US leads the way once again for true metal glory, this time holding the flame high for Pharaoh, who present to the world their sophomore effort "The Longest Night". I discovered Pharaoh through a friend a few years back, really finding the band's debut album, "After The Fire", an absorbing, well defined metal output that really showcased brand new stars. Led by the talented voice of Tim Aymar (Control Denied), the band play a melodic, energetic romp of power metal precision and fury mixed with the softer elements of progressive experimentation. Building on the metallic brooding of the debut, Pharaoh now inject a real progressive presence, something that could be credited to producer Matt Crooks, the man behind Division (in which he is a member) and Twisted Tower Dire. His fabulous production ear on those releases led the way for his participation in this "power progressive" venture. In many ways this release reminds me of today's Jag Panzer crossed with the softer guitar notes from Maiden's "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son". Guitarist Matt Johnsen may be the country's best kept secret, showing off amazing virtuoso skills while still possessing an enormous amount of catchy hook. Tracks like "Sunrise" and "Endlessly" obviously blaze with perfection and skill, but still manage to go one step further by going a bit more technical and experimental. That sort of flare for the obscure can be found on "In The Violent Fire", which starts out playing a loose sort of Running Wild gallop. While that sound could be a bit thin and one-dimensional, Pharaoh really mix it up well and delve deep into subtle guitar notes and a great sense of brooding atmosphere. If the experiments turn you off then you can look at heavy metal anthems like "I Am The Hammer" and "Fighting" as food from the Gods. Favorite track for me is the epic sci-fi tale "By The Night Sky". Also look for a blazing solo from ex-Megadeth axeman Chris Poland on opener "Sunrise".