Pyramaze - Legend Of The Bone Carver - 2006 - Nightmare Records
1.Era of Chaos 2. The Birth 3. What Lies Beyond 4. Ancient Words Within 5. Souls In Pain 6. She Who Summoned Me 7. The Bone Carver 8. Bring Back Life 9. Blood Red Skies 10. Tears Of Hate
It has been a long time since I have rallied behind a power-progressive piece. For years I've shunned the light hearted, symphonic metal in search of heavier tones and somewhat darker aggression. Being a huge power metal fan has introduced me to some of the more progressive elements in the past. Some of my favorite power metal extraordinaire have built their heavier sound upon a progressive platform. Now, I have finally found that one band, that one diverse artist, in which every element is explored in vivid detail.
In much the same fashion as a band like Nevermore, who take the heavier aspects of metal and combine them with orchestrated progressive arrangements, Pyramaze establish themselves as a band who is perfectly capable of tackling all fronts. In terms of heaviness and aggressive persuasion, this band does that, and of course, does it extremely well. You can look at strong, sensational cuts like "Souls In Pain" and the title track as exhibits of perfect formula and chemistry. While each cut is soaring with fast, quick gallops of metal high voltage, the band still slow the arrangement down and inject keyboards and haunting melodies through the chorus parts. It is this style that immediately hooked me on the record, that ability to build tension and pace with the goal of reaching a melodic, catchy atmosphere that is both metallic and clanging while still breathing an enormous amount of progressive vapors. It is at times like this that Pyramaze reminds me of mid-era Steel Prophet, with Michael Kammeyer exhibiting the same strengths as 'Prophet's Steve Kachinsky.
While the band is obviously speedy and dynamic enough to please the power metal die-hards, I think it is the mid-tempo cuts that really represent the band as a whole. With song selections like "The Birth" and "Bring Back Life", this group showcase that progressive side, mixing in dramatic keyboards that aren't thick and muddy like some bands. Instead these keys are just simply done in spirit, more like a backing rhythm that doesn't bog things down and mire the band in full symphonic mode. This style reminds me of other great Euro acts that have a healthy dose of atmosphere through metallic visions celebrated with keys and symphony. In a lot of ways Sweden's Tad Morose, America's Mystic Force (now defunct), and Norway's Guardians Of Time come to mind, as this band falls in the same sort of "thinking man's metal" mold as those types of bands. Vocalist Lance King (Balance Of Power, King's Machine, Gemini) notches a magnificent performance here, really delivering soaring melodic passages that are both moody and dark while still shimmering with bright, up-lifting chorus parts.
The songwriting for "Legend Of The Bone Carver" is fantastic, building a concept album that has a "messiah" styled storyline. The hero emerges into the universe as a baby, slowly evolving into the savior of a troubled world ruled by darkness. His creation is the by-product of wishes and a "touch of the divine". Injecting years of expertise is Jacob Hansen, the producer for the record, who in the past has worked with famed bands like Mercenary, Beyond Twilight, and Rob Rock. His production gives the recording a tight fit that is built with heavy bottom end while still allowing the guitar riffs to sound polished and "super-clean".
Bottom Line - The best power progressive blend in ages!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details