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Pyramaze - "Immortal" (CD)

Pyramaze - "Immortal" CD cover image

"Immortal" track listing:

1. Arise (1:02)
2. Year of the Phoenix (4:57)
3. Ghost Light (6:08)
4. Touched by the Mara (5:54)
5. A Beautiful Death (4:28)
6. Legacy in a Rhyme 4:04)
7. Caramon's Poem (4:57)
8. The Highland (5:41)
9. Shadow of the Beast (6:04)
10. March Through an Endless Rain (2:08)

Reviewed by on August 18, 2008

"Though immortality has become a cliche in the power metal subgenre, Pyramaze has shown how diverse the theme of immortality can be."

Formed in 2001, Danish power metal band Pyramaze has managed to maintain a fairly steady line up. However, there have been several recent changes to the vocalist position. After releasing two albums with Pyramaze, 2004's "Melancholy Beast" and 2006's "Legend of the Bone Carver," vocalist Lance King decided to step down. Pyramaze would find a surprising replacement in Matt Barlow, who stepped down from American power metal giant Iced Earth in 2001 to pursue a career in law enforcement. However, Barlow's stay in Pyramaze would be brief, as he was only used to record vocals on "Immortal" before reuniting with Iced Earth. Urban Breed is now the current vocalist for Pyramaze.

"Immortal" has a predictable, but interesting theme. Each song depicts a different form of immortality. Including the recount of the 300 Spartans gaining immortality both historically and mythologically during their legendary last stand at the battle of Thermopolea, to the horror of not being able to escape from a nightmare and a ghost that wanders for eternity. The theme also covers emotional subjects such as finding peace via suicide to suffering in hell and the never ending battle against the demons that plague us everyday. Though immortality has become a cliche in the power metal subgenre, Pyramaze has shown how diverse the theme of immortality can be.

Stylistically, "Immortal" is intended to be a power metal epic, and it delivers. The main influences seem to be Iron Maiden and Iced Earth's "Horror Show" and are dominating throughout. Other influences that appear are the Kamelot inspired piano ballad "Legacy in Rhyme," the Children of Bodom keyboard tone and riff in "Ghost Light" and the King Diamond influenced "Touched by the Mara." Symphonic elements give the album a very epic sense. The opening track "Arise" and the closing track "March through an Endless Rain" sound like they could have come from the "Gladiator" or "300" movie soundtracks.

The music on "Immortal" is quality symphonic power metal. Guitarist and mastermind Michael Kammeyer puts in an excellent performance with Matt Barlow showing that he hasn't lost a step and delivering a stand out performance. However, the use of some cheesy Dragonforce-esque guitar effects for a few solos along with some cheesy vocal melodies and overly simplistic riffs are my biggest criticism of the album. However, these complaints are nothing new, as every Pyramaze album to date has incorporated those elements. Even so, the cheesy elements are only a small portion of the album and don't take away from the overall epic feel. Overall, "Immortal" is a positive step for Pyramaze.

Highs: Epic nature and Matt Barlow

Lows: Some cheesy effects and vocal melodies

Bottom line: Recommended for fans of power metal and Barlow-era Iced Earth

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)