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On disc: Pyramaze

- Immortal - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


(Locomotive Music - 2008)

Pyramaze was founded in 2001 by guitarist Michael Kammeyer. With Immortal they release their 3rd album and perhaps the most anticipated one... Coz this album marks the return of Matt Barlow. Matt first got back with Pyramaze, then returned to Iced Earth and so this will be the only CD with this brilliant American singer. Barlow was the successor of Lance King, so now it's time to speculate who will be next. ;)
Opening up with the intro Arise they head straight into Year Of The Phoenix - which is a fast melodic power metal tune. A scream from Barlow and heavy riffing kick it off. But then staccato riffing, some deeply spoken words and it becomes clear that Matt still has it! Soon Pyramaze and Matt Barlow draw you into their musical universe! The song needs a few spins to show all its potential, but there are some catchy lines which soon will haunt you. Next in line is Ghost Light which offers some keyboard line next to crunchy riffs. Somehow the songs remind you of Iced Earth, but that's no surprise with a charismatic singer like Matt Barlow - and music which fits the same genre. But on Ghost Light it also shows some of the differences - the backing vocals differ as well as the keyboard as counter part to the riffs at the opening of the song. A break leads into a slow part with a symphonic touch and great vocals, but then they speed up again. Here the song writing obviously differs from Schaffers. On a roller coaster ride they take you with Touched By The Mara where they switch between uptempo parts and slower ones. And so also Barlow offers his whole range. Guitarist Michael Kammeyer adds again a short solo part, this time not influenced by neo-classical metal and so shows some variety. A slightly progressive metal hymn they offer with A Beautiful Death which is one of my favorites on Immortal. I dig these counter part vocals. Keyboarder Jonah Weingarten can show his skills and can step up front. Great one!
A ballad they offer with Legacy In A Rhyme which is getting more intense towards the end. It takes a few spins to grow! The track Caramon's Poem seems to be inspired lyrically by the Dragonlance character... Towards the end the song gets riff-based again and so is closer to Iced Earth then the following The Highland, even if this one is riff-based, too. But The Highland start with the sound of surf and some medieval influenced choir and music, then a break leads into fast riffing and the character of the song changes. The refrain is catchy, easy to get into this one. Last, but not least they take us onto a March Through An Endless Rain. With marching drums, riffs and some angelic voice it leads us slowly out of this album... Wanting more.
Unfortunately with a family and Iced Earth there is no more time left for Barlow to spend with Pyramaze. And so it depends on who Michael Kammeyer will recruit next, if they can keep the level. Musically I have no doubt, but it will depend on the singer. Anyway, it's good to have Matt Barlow back and Immortal is a great album to stand next to Iced Earth's releases with this extraordinary singer!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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