Pyramaze has been a high quality band over the entirety of their existence. The rotating vocalist seat can make or break a band, but the Danes (mostly) always seem to come through unscathed – and maybe even better for it.
Having employed singers Lance King, Matt Barlow, and Urban Breed, Pyramaze has shown that the quality of music they create lends itself to some of the best vocalists in Power Metal. Now album number two with Terje Harøy, the band clearly has confidence in his abilities despite being relatively unknown. Pyramaze‘s effort Contingent on Inner Wound Recordings is some outstanding Power Metal in their own style showing a great deal of maturity and excellent song writing.
Land of Information starts things off promisingly, a mid-paced typical Power Metal song done with the class that Pyramaze always seems to deliver. Kingdom of Solace has a killer riff appearing at both the beginning and end of the song. Harøy is on display here and it’s clear why he was chosen as the singer an album ago. Star Men isn’t especially original, reminding me of a number of other Power Metal bands (Evergrey in particular), but the chorus and vocal harmonies are so well done, it’s forgivable. While the band hasn’t exactly been super aggressive to this point of Contingent, A World Divided worried me a bit, as I thought it was going to be a ballad. Shortly into it, the band unleashes a wonderful riff and a superb chorus. Granted, each song so far has been around the same tempo, but this one shows a bit more complexity and heavier nature. Much like that track, Nemesis has a memorable chorus with a great melody.
A short instrumental passage leads into the first song released from Contingent – and probably the best song here. 20 Second Century brings out the heavy, showing itself to be a fantastic example of high quality modern European PM. Obsession is pretty good (not as good as 20 Second Century), but is ultimately a simply decent track, as is Heir Apparent. While it’s clear that the band took care to craft these couple of songs in the mold they intended, the song writing isn’t as strong as a number of other songs on Contingent. After another short musical interlude Pyramaze launches into another mid-paced rocker in Under Restraint. Not bad, but I also wouldn’t call it great. The Tides That Won’t Change is the obligatory ballad. Guest singer Kristen Foss of Minneapolis has a fantastic delivery and blends well with Harøy. Quite nicely done. Closing track Symphony of Tears has the Evergrey feel once again, but not blatantly so. It is, in the end, a very good song and a fitting way to complete the album.
Check out 20 Second Century:
The band has unequivocally stated that this album incorporates some “movie score” type of epic sounds. That is a true statement, but I don’t think that those particular elements overpower the Power Metal base. Pyramaze is clearly a Metal band vice a theatrical band employing some Metal components, though I would have appreciated a bit more variety in the song tempos (a little speed, guys). Be sure to get your copy of Contingent.
I hear the sound in a Metal way.
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