Released: 2009, Meteor City Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Finally….Finally…FINALLY!!! SOMEBODY GETS IT!!! As a purveyor of all things doom and stoner metal, I’ll be the first to admit that the scene is waaaay overcrowded with sloppy bands that think that the key to a good doom record is lots of bong hits and playing…real…slooooooow. And then a band like Black Pyramid comes along and gives me renewed hope for the genre and for metal in general. The band’s self titled debut combines all of the best elements that you could hope for in a doom album - heavy, rhythmic, groovin’ songs that are both well written and well performed.
A power trio from the great state of Massachusetts, Black Pyramid has not only studied diligently from the great book of Black Sabbath, but from bands like Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Cathedral, and Pentagram as well. There’s definitely an old school doom vibe here that’s immediately recognizable and welcomed. Warm, analog tones and thick fuzzed out guitars are the order of the day here, enveloping the 9 songs on the disc in a smoked out embryo of heaviness. As I listened to the album (again and again), I kept feeling that the riffs, song structure and overall performance here are very Sabbathian, circa MASTER OF REALITY and VOL. 4. But the band manages to capture that classic vibe without sounding plagiaristic - and that friends, is a beautiful thing.
“Voices of Gehenna” is the first track after a brief intro, setting the mood just right. Drummer Clay Neely keeps the swinging beats going (a la Bill Ward in his prime) beneath vocalist/guitarist Andy Beresky’s bellow and bass player Gein’s low end distortion. “Mirror Messiah” could have easily been a Cathedral leftover, while “No Life King” has almost a folksy, Celtic inspired gait to it. “The Worm Ouroboros” could possibly be the spiritual successor to “Into the Void,” opening with some jazzy, wah wah drenched hooks before settling into the main groove of the song. “Wintermute” is by far my favorite cut on the disc; a little bit of “Planet Caravan” mixed with a little bit of the Obsessed’s melancholy, the tune is a gut buster that ends in a crescendo of punchy riffs.
Like the classic Sabbath albums of the day, BLACK PYRAMID will please a wide audience. Sludgy enough for the staunchest of doom stalwarts, the album has enough rockin’ in general to satisfy more mainstream fans as well. Rather than reinventing the wheel, Black Pyramid has opted to build upon an existing blueprint and make it their own. A solid debut all the way, I can’t wait to hear how the band follows this up.