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Pyramaze - "Disciples Of The Sun" (CD)

Pyramaze - "Disciples Of The Sun" CD cover image

"Disciples Of The Sun" track listing:

1. We Are The Ocean
2. The Battle Of Paridas
3. Disciples Of The Sun
4. Back For More
5. Genetic Process
6. Fearless
7. Perfectly Imperfect
8. Unveil
9. Hope Springs Eternal
10. Exposure
11. When Black Turns To White
12. Photograph

Reviewed by on May 4, 2015

"Pyramaze has shifted decidedly into a modern sustainable progressive direction. The multilayered harmony vocals and haunting keyboard melodies combined with groove laden riffs create a distinct feel of an Evergrey/Scar Symmetry mashup, but all original."

As if channeling the uncanny ability of Luca Turilli to hype the world and make it insanely lust for an album, Pyramaze keyboardist Jonah Weingarten held out until the last minute in announcing Matt Barlow’s replacement, Terje Haroy (Teodor Tuff/Crossnail). Though the name may have been the “worst kept secret” for some investigative minds, Weingarten wouldn’t budge until the band unleashed the first preview for “Disciples of the Sun.” Haroy, cousin to brothers Christer and Rayner Haroy (Divided Multitude/Teodor Tuff/Crossnail), is well known in the progressive metal circles, heralded as one of the rising stars of the scene.

His style fits Pyramaze’s monumental direction shift like a glove, one that sees a near departure from the power metal stylings of “Immortal” to a Scar Symmetry (sans Roberth Karlsson harsh vox) type modern progressive style. While “Disciples of the Sun” doesn’t quite attain the dazzling 80’s pop meets modern death metal masterpiece of “The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity),” it opens up a whole new fanbase, propelling Pyramaze’s future into one free from proverbial classification.

If technical and proficient song structures infused with modern metal and a touch of the old is your game, then Pyramaze has made an album that demands your attention. For older fans of the band, prepare yourself for a monumental shift in the dynamic and direction of the band. Whether it’s Terje’s charismatic vocal style, or the addition of producer extraordinaire and ex-Anubis Gate vocalist/guitarist Jacob Hansen (who joined in 2011 as the band’s guitarist and bassist) – Pyramaze has shifted decidedly into a modern sustainable progressive direction. The multilayered harmony vocals and haunting keyboard melodies combined with groove laden riffs create a distinct feel of an Evergrey/Scar Symmetry mashup, but all original.

“Fearless” is the perfect track for analysis. The riff intertwines perfectly with Weingarten’s keyboards creating a moody Evergrey feel before erupting into a bridge worthy of Scar Symmetry - complete with juxtaposed harmony vocals that soar with melodies that seem oddly, but refreshingly, unexpected. Though the change will jump out at you, keep in mind this is very much still grounded in the Pyramaze of old. Call it “enhanced” or “refreshed,” since even on the 2004 debut “Melancholy Sun,” the band was way ahead of its time. On “Disciples of the Sun,” the band zigs when you expect a zag, injecting some much needed excitement into what became a safe and more predictable (but no less enjoyable) power/progressive style with the “Legend of the Bone Carver” and “Immortal” offerings.

Stand outs are hard to pick with such a plethora of expertly delivered tunes, but “Perfectly Imperfect” immediately sticks in the mind. It is a song that embodies the spirit of this newly invigorated lineup. “Unveil” chokes the riff at kickoff, but evolves into a progressive masterpiece, with Haroy showing off his impeccable range as the song bursts into one of the most virulent choruses. “Genetic Process” in both name and sound just scream for a Scar Symmetry comparison – more of those unexpected, almost lenticular melody lines. However, the hardest hitters and most impressive offerings are “Hope Springs Eternal” and “When Black Turns to White.” This is where the band flexes more of that power with huge meaty riffs.

The last time I felt such a vitalizing rush when listening to an album, it was “The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity).” Pyramaze is reborn, which may turn off some of its long time fans. In the end, good music and songwriting prevails and those with a “bone carver” to pick should give it a bunch of spins before giving into judgment. “Disciples of the Sun” is a grower, especially with such a noticeable difference in style. However – if drawing comparisons to Scar Symmetry and Evergrey is where it leads, it speaks volumes as to the quality. I’m sure the company could be far worse.

Highs: A refreshing and invigorating progressive metal release.

Lows: The change in style may turn off long times fans of the more power metal version of the band.

Bottom line: A new vocalist and newly invigorated sound has Pyramaze soaring!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

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)