|Review: Pharaoh - After The Fire|
|After The Fire|
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: June 9, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:After The Fire
Rising from some ancient, obscurely forgotten tomb at the bottom of the ocean, Chicago's Pharaoh have become quite a formidable force in the American Heavy Metal scene, using powerful riffs, well constructed, tight melodies and the powerful, vicious vocals of Tim Aymar to kick your ass in about seven different ways at once on every song they write. This was their debut, and while it is overshadowed in every way by the two albums following it, it is quite a good album in its own right, anyway.
After the Fire is one of those albums with an absolutely amazing opening track that sets the listeners' expectations higher than what the rest of the album actually delivers. And indeed, the title track of this album is one fucking good piece of Metal, with a smoking, smoldering main riff and a fantastic performance by the unstoppable Aymar that's worthy of Bruce Dickinson in his prime. The chorus is catchy as Hell and the lyrics are well done, too, and lo! This is perhaps the best way to introduce someone else to Pharaoh's grand repertoire of Heavy Metal mastery, just an extremely well done song on all sides.
The rest of the album just doesn't quite live up to this song, though, and the whole album falls short of expectations when compared to its follow-up, the intense and gripping The Longest Night. Don't get me wrong, every song here is pretty good, with Maidenish galloping riffs aplenty and a fine vocal performance, along with some shimmering solos from lone guitarist Matt Johnsen, but it won't really wow you and it isn't much you haven't heard done better anywhere else. After the Fire will be remembered as an important first step for a very important band. Everyone has to start somewhere.
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