Pharaoh - Be gone 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-30-08





Tracklist:

1. Speak to me
2. Dark new life
3. No remains
4. Red honor
5. Buried at sea
6. Rats and rope
7. Cover your eyes and pray
8. Telepath
9. Be gone


Pharaoh's 3rd CD is a lot like their first 2, so if you want the "Cliff's Notes" version of this review, it's simple. If you liked Pharaoh before you will continue to like them now, so buy the CD. One of Pharaoh's more endearing traits is the fact they heavily layer their U.S. power metal songs with lots of wonderful guitar harmonies. This is once more in abundance with 'Be gone', which probably has their strongest guitar work yet. Tim Aymar is still providing vocals for better or worse, so the overall sound is pretty familiar with what we're used to from the band. I seem to hear less and less of the European power metal influence with each CD, but I'd say that traces of its influence are still there.

Going into more detail, Aymar sounds about the same as always here. He comes off as a gruff cross between Dio and the Apocrypha singer, Steve Plocia. Most of the time I find his vocals very engaging, but sometimes the line between singing and screaming gets a little blurry, so be warned if your sensitive to that sort of thing. The guitar work is just fantastic here. I have long been a total sucker for harmony guitar leads and this CD once again just brims with them. They are very similar stylistically to the classic Maiden harmony lead work, without sounding like or imitating any particular melodies. The guitar work is just classy all around and continues to be my favorite aspect of Pharaoh.

But the songs aren't slouches either. Opener "Speak to me" has a majestic harmonized opening before settling into the main song. Aymar does plenty of harmonizing with his vocals in this and all songs as well which adds to my enjoyment of him. "Dark new life" is a killer song that contains a strong chorus and a driving main riff. "Buried at sea" is the CD's epic track. Restrained at a little over 7 minutes, it has a really memorable chorus. "Rats and rope" immediately follows with a blast of speed right at the opening moment. "Telepath" is another personal favorite particularly because I love the harmony guitar at the song's opening. The title track concludes the CD and I like its brooding tone.

Once more, the production is crystal clear and basic without a lot of added effects or enhancements to the instruments. Once again the overall package is very good, and I would think nearly every reader of this site should enjoy it. If you haven't yet heard Pharaoh, this is a great CD to buy to check them out.



JOHN




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