Pyramaze – Epitaph

Epitaph album cover

Reviewed: November, 2020
Released: 2020, AFM Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Erich

Pyramaze recently signed with AFM Records and will release their new album, EPITAPH on November 13. Most reading this probably know about the band, but briefly this Danish outfit released their debut album in 2004, sporting a power metal sound that was more muscular than most, a cross between Iced Earth and Evergrey. The band apparently embraced the Iced Earth similarities and brought in former Iced Earth vocalist Matthew Barlow for 2008’s IMMORTAL, essentially an Iced Earth album with keyboards, but still a very enjoyable record. Following a 7-year hiatus, the band’s current lineup released DISCIPLES OF THE SUN in 2015, with a modern down-tuned guitar sound and more of an individual identity. Songs became more accessible as the band leaned now towards Evergrey and a contemplative but accessible progressive sound.

EPITAPH continues in the style started in 2015, with perhaps more accessibility and confidence, as this lineup has been together for three albums now. The expected and brief music intro is forgettable, but “Stroke Of Magic” is an excellent place for new fans to become acquainted with Terje Harøy’s engaging vocals and the type of melodic and welcoming music EPITAPH contains. Most songs are mid-paced with down tuned guitar riffs and prominent keyboard layers paving the way for memorable chorus melodies that Harøy has become an expert at crafting. For those looking for the speedier power metal moments, “Knights In Shining Armor” offers some of that, particularly in drummer Morten Gade Sørensen speedy kick drumming during the chorus. The catchiest and probably best track on the album is “Bird of Prey”, a song that resonates by balancing a chugging and fairly speedy riff with Harøy’s most melodic and memorable vocal lines on the album. It is an inspiring and uplifting tune.

The band wisely chooses to keep most of the songs from meandering by clocking in at around five minutes or under, save for the final epic track “The Time Traveler”, where both previous singers Lance King and Matt Barlow make an appearance. It is slightly disjointed and too long, but it is admirable that the band has recognized and welcomed their two previous singers to be a part of it. It also has some of the darker and heavier moments on the album, which are welcome after a lot of the feel-good positivity and melodic accessibility that precedes it. “Transcendence” features Brittney Slayes from Unleash The Archers sharing vocals with Harøy to complete the guest appearances on EPITAPH.

In sum, EPITAPH makes some minor improvements to the band’s already enjoyable sound of the last few albums, particularly in the memorable choruses, which are a highlight. Many of the riffs though are indistinguishable from each other, partly because most low-tuned riffs these days sound similar. I generally enjoy Jacob Hansen’s mixes, but this one is not one of his best, being cold, clinical, loud, and devoid of personality. No question the bass and drums are booming, but the songs would have benefitted from a bit more warmth. Overall, this is a very solid album, with more than a few enjoyable songs. At the same time, it is safe and expected, not pushing any creative boundaries or experiments, which after the turmoil of the early years might be exactly what the band wants. Recommended for all Pyramaze fans and Evergrey and Masterplan fans that have not discovered Pyramaze yet.


Videos


Track Listing:

Pyramaze band photo01. Epitaph
02. A Stroke Of Magic
03. Steal My Crown
04. Knights In Shining Armour
05. Bird Of Prey
06. Your Last Call
07. Particle
08. Indestructible
09. Transcendence (feat. Brittney Slayes)
10. Final Hour
11. World Foregone
12. The Time Traveller (feat. Matt Barlow & Lance King)

Lineup:

Terje Harøy – Vocals
Jacob Hansen – Guitars, Bass
Jonah Weingarten – Keyboards
Toke Skjønnemand – Guitars
Morten Gade Sørensen – Drums

Websites:

www.facebook.com/pyramaze
www.pyramaze.com

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About Erich Heintzelman

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