Company: Locomotive Records
Reviewer: Raising Iron
Genre: Power, prog
For those in need of a straight up, power metal fix
No sooner does Matt Barlow join Denmark's Pyramaze for this impressive new release, "Immortal", and he's off to rejoin Iced Earth as its rightful vocalist. Pyramaze have now brought in Urban Breed from Tad Morose to replace Barlow, another well respected and established singer in the power metal world, so fans can remain somewhat calm these great danes aren't going away anytime soon.
This is the band's third release, the first two having the much revered (in prog circles at least) Lance King at the mic, and here Barlow is certainly an upgrade. Whether he would be or not was the question coming into this, Matt having left his former band, Iced Earth, the metal world, and his long trusses behind altogether to become a police officer, only to re-enter, head shaven, in a somewhat unlikely place as Pyramaze's vocalist at guitarist Mike Kammeyer's request. One get's the feeling the band adjusted their songwriting approach a bit, knowing Matt would be doing the singing, as things this time around are firmly rooted in a heavy/power metal orbit versus the bands highly melodic, proggy, keyboard driven excursions on the previous Legend of the Bone Carver effort. There's really only one lightweight ballad here in "Legacy in a Rhyme", even so Barlow's soulful vocals adding depth to it's straight forward composition. Standout tracks would be "Year of the Phoenix", "Shadow of the Beast", and "Caramon's Poem", the heft of these riff-laden rides only serving to augment Matt's powerful croon. Like I said, not a lot of keyboard-driven excess here, though they do appear regularly, propping up the chorus in "The Highland" and driving the only truly progressive feeling song on this outing, "Ghost Light". Production is squeaky clean, everything attenuated to exacting detail, not a surprise given the nature of this band. There are ten tracks listed, but the first, "Arise", and the last, "March Through An Endless Rain", only serve as a quick intro and outro, respectively.
So, if you're a power metal fan, this will probably be your glass of beer. There's really nothing new or experimental here (maybe a bit for these boys, but not the genre), just finely written tunes for those in need of a straight up, power metal fix.