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Review: Pharaoh - Bury the Light
Pharaoh
www.solarflight.net
Bury the Light

Label: Cruz Del Sur
Year released: 2012
Duration: 48:22
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: March 16, 2012
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
for:
Bury the Light

Rated 4.44/5 (88.78%) (41 Votes)
Review


Pharaoh should be no stranger around these parts now, and in fact the whole metal scene. The band have been steadily increasing the quality of their already impressive sound since their debut dropped in 2003. Pharaoh are an acclaimed act, especially here at The Metal Crypt and their fourth full-length Bury the Light see's the band ready for complete and utter global domination.

Pharaoh's equation is that of equal parts Iron Maiden and early Jag Panzer, spots of underground US power metal titans Crimson Glory, Heir Apparent, Titan Force, and Fifth Angels, as well as added progressive metal nuances à la Anubis Gate, and noticeably here on Bury the Light, Rush. The band boast a line-up of musicians who whilst undoubtedly accomplished in their own right, come together as a doubly impressive unit. From Tim Aymar's incredibly passionate vocal delivery, to the incredibly supportive and durable rhythm section of Chris Kern and Chris Black, all the way to the profound, outside of the box guitar work of resident riff master Matt Johnsen; Pharaoh are a the kind of band who bounce off each other and reap all of the benefits in doing so.

The music on Bury the Light has been so meticulously crafted, layers of melodious guitar lines add grand dimension, controlled via shifting drum and bass patterns, setting a flowing canvas for Tim Aymar to dip in and spread some of the best vocal lines he's sung to date. The album opens up in typical Pharaoh style with "Leave Me Here to Dream", where the band demonstrate good use of jarring guitar and drum stabs over bass lines in the intro, and daring use of melody over fairly complex rhythms. Tim's performance in the verses are very powerful, and repeated listens will unveil how empowering and fist pumping the backing riff is. The lead guitar work here and throughout the album is second to none, I admire Matt's playing; particularly the balance of emotion and feeling as to that of technically astounding note patterns and scale running.

The band show they can kick up the heaviness factor well with "The Wolves" and "In Your Hands". Those looking for some more throwback tracks to the sounds brought forth on Be Gone should look towards "Castle's in the Sky" and "The Spider's Thread" both tracks that are typical of the Pharaoh sound – great examples at that – and the latter of which features a cool Mike Wead solo to boot. However the absolute pinnacle of the material on Bury the Light is displayed in the two longer tracks here. The first of which "The Year of the Blizzard" takes everything I love about the modern Iron Maiden epics and fuses the style with some Rush nuances like those found in 2112. The track builds up into a superb power metal epic, with some truly majestic vocal lines and brain-cramping lead guitar work (props for the Alex Lifeson worship early on). The second of these absolute highlights is "Graveyard of Empires" which is quite possibly the best song Pharaoh have crafted. Here Pharaoh display everything I love about the band, played at 110% intensity, and there are some really interesting guitar parts around the middle, which again solidifies Matt's integrity as a first class player.

Bury the Light is the first truly essential album of 2012. There aren't a lot of bands in this field that are as forward thinking as Pharaoh. Whilst their influence is undoubtedly a veritable feast of the finest of 80's underground and renowned metal classics, their finished product is one that moves forward with these established sounds and styles, and I only hope Pharaoh continue to move forward in this fashion. This is serious music for serious people, and if you care about proper metal this should be moving to the checkout in your shopping cart right about... now.

Other related information on the site
Review: After The Fire (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: After The Fire (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Be Gone (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Be Gone (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Bury the Light (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Ten Years (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Ten Years (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Longest Night (reviewed by Ivan the Bludgeon)
Review: The Longest Night (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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