The band Pyramaze has probably got to be one of the best kept secrets in rock or metal because they rarely seem to be mentioned when fans reel off any list of so-called best bands but it is a group of musicians that should be and eventually must be up there at the forefront of the power metal genre. Pyramaze was originally formed in Denmark in 2001 by the guitarist Michael Kammeyer and he quickly brought in drummer Morten Gade Sørensen (Wuthering Heights, Anubis Gate) and bassist Niels Kvist with the American pairing of Jonah Weingarten on keyboards and the marvellous vocalist Lance King (Balance of Power).
This well formed team released Melancholy Beast and The Legend Of The Bone Carver in 2004 and 2006 respectively before King left the band and his replacement was another masterful piece of recruitment with Matt Barlow (Iced Earth, Ashes Of Ares) coming in, this then set something of a precedent for numerous departures with the rotating door policy going into overdrive and you could literally write a book on the musicians who came and went in a relatively short period. Thankfully though, the band continued as a recording and touring outfit and the quality of the music has remained at a consistently high level ever since. There has now been stability within the group in recent years and Epitaph is the third release with the same team of musicians in Terje Harøy (vocals), Jacob Hansen (Guitar, bass), Jonah W. (keyboards), Toke Skjønnemand (guitars) and Morten Gade Sørensen (Drums). The wait for new material has been a relatively long one as it is three years since the epic concept piece Contingent but now the band is back again with the triumphant Epitaph which is quite possibly their best to date.
Pyramaze seems to have mastered the art of combining hard rock complete with screaming guitars and shattering drums and bass with a melodic approach and hook laden songs that satisfy our most basic metal needs whilst still maintaining a level of harmony that will appeal to all rock lovers. The recruitment of Terje Harøy was nothing short of genius as he truly has made the role of lead vocalist his very own and he has had some pretty big shoes to fill! However, he has helped the band keep their old identity whilst moulding the band to his voice and delivery and his performance on Epitaph is as good as you will ever hear from any rock vocalists in that it is powerful, commanding and crystal clear. The drumming is of a cataclysmic nature and when the bass kicks in they create an intense sound that is on the same scale as the movement of tectonic plates is i.e. earth shattering. Jacob Hansen and Toke Skjønnemand are both commanding on guitar and the level of riffing is on another scale altogether and then when they break loose with their immaculate soloing they are simply jaw dropping-ly good. Because of this it would seem that the keyboards of Jonah W. would be drowned out but this is far from the case as his work is also immense and is at the heart of everything that is good about the band and his work is so moving on the quieter and more reflective moments. It was well recorded that when the band played ProgPower USA 2016 they were joined on stage by the previous singers Lance King and Matt Barlow and this is recreated again as the two join for the epic album closer The Time Traveller, a magnificent 12 minute tour de force. Also, check out the equally stunning Transcendence which features the gorgeous tones of Unleash The Archers vocalist Brittney Slayes and her voice when combined with Harøy is simply exquisite.
The band is a delicious mix of progressive and power metal and Pyramaze will soon be in a class of its own if the progress seen in recent years is maintained. There is so much great metal around at the moment and we are almost spoiled as each day seems to bring a new fabulous and must have album and times are obviously difficult so we cannot always have what we want but Epitaph is an album that is truly worth making some sacrifices for, trust me, you will not be disappointed as this is going to be one of those album you will still be listening to in 50 years time.
Epitaph track list
- Epitaph (1:47)
- A Stroke Of Magic (5:06)
- Steal My Crown (5:26)
- Knights In Shining Armour (5:30)
- Bird Of Prey (4:38)
- Your Last call (4:39)
- Particle (4:24)
- Indestructible (5:25)
- Transcendence (feat. Brittney Slayes) (4:17)
- Final Hour (3:37)
- World Foregone (4:49)
- The Time Traveller (feat. Lance King, Matt Barlow) (12:04)