Released: 2011, Meteor City Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Mmmmm….sweet, sweet doom…(wipes drool from chin)
Yeah, so Black Pyramid’s finally released their long awaited sophomore full length, simply titled “II.” Packing every bit of a wallop as its predecessor and then some, II is more than just a new record – it’s a turning point for the band. Vocalist/guitarist Andy Beresky called it quits after the album was recorded, causing the band’s status to be in question for a blip, and a low-fi copy of II found its way onto the internet, causing some to wonder whether the poor quality recording was the real deal or not. But internal strife and internet pirates can’t stop this beast. II saw its official release in November through the good folks at Meteor City Records, and for anyone that was concerned, rest assured it’s going to kick your ass.
The core sound of the first album is still intact on II; big honkin’ guitars that swing just enough muck to get the tunes dirty, but not enough to obscure the great riffs and bright melodies that abound across the album. And it’s exactly those two components that push this album above and beyond its predecessor. Think of how different PARANOID sounded from SABOTAGE; both devastatingly heavy albums, but the latter incorporated some more bounce and variety into that heavy, arguably making it a more fulfilling listen than the former. That’s kind of where Black Pyramid is in 2011. Still heavy, but the variety makes it more fulfilling.
Check the dark swagger of the opening riff of “Endless Agony” and you’ll get it immediately. It’s an upbeat and punchy tune that gets the head nodding and the blood pumping, quickly following up with the equally catchy “Mercy’s Bane.” There’s a couple of instrumental interludes that range from acoustic renaissance jaunts to wah-wah’d fuzz trips, but the real gold is on tracks like “Night Queen” and the massive album closer “Into the Dawn.” Heavy, Iommi-esque rhythms drive home some powerful arrangements amidst random jams and hazy fog. It’s a good time.
At a time when so many doom related acts are content to wallow in the sludge and drag their feet along monotonous riffs and garbled vocals, it’s damn refreshing to hear an album so well structured and divergent. I probably said something similar about Black Pyramid when I reviewed the debut, but it held true then and it still does now. In any case, if you liked the first disc, you’ll love this one. The band’s already secured a new frontman, so I’m eager to hear what the next chapter of Black Pyramid will sound like. In the meantime though, satiate your needs with II; it’s good for what ails ya.