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Pyramaze - Immortal 4/5

Reviewed: 7-25-08


1. Arise
2. Year of the phoenix
3. Ghost light
4. Touched by the mara
5. A beautiful death
6. Legacy in a rhyme
7. Caramone's poem
8. The highland
9. Shadow of the beast
10. March through an endless rain

Those who read my review for Pyramaze's 2nd CD ('Legend of the bone carver') are aware that I'm a big fan of the band musically, and I'm also a big fan of vocalist Lance King, who provided the vocals on both of the band's first 2 CDs. I was really excited about the band's future, but just like with so many other bands these days, Pyramaze made a line-up change after their 2nd CD, as Lance was replaced by the popular Matt Barlow, whose known for his experiences with the long-running Iced Earth. Being such a fan of 'Legend of the bone carver', I was skeptical to hear the band's 3rd CD 'Immortal'. Not only would I miss Lance with the band, but I was also unsure of how well Matt would fit into Pyramaze's progressive power metal style, even though I've actually always liked Matt with Iced Earth.

Well, I must say that I've been very impressed by 'Immortal', as not only has the band stayed with the same outstanding musical style of their previous CD (for the most part), they've managed to incorporate Matt's voice quite well and he doesn't feel out of place. Now, for those that don't know, Lance has a fairly high-pitched voice and Matt is much more in the lower register, so there really is quite a difference between them. But 'Immortal' has more of an epic feel than 'Legend of the bone carver' does, and although the keys are still a part of the band's musical side, they're not quite as high in the mix as they are on 'Legend of the bone carver'. The band, in a way, has incorporated some of Iced Earth's influences, and the guitars are many times powerful and pounding, an aspect that Iced Earth has always been known for.

Although there are many songs on the CD that contain a good dose of speed, strong guitar work and great songwriting, the most surprising song is definitely the slow track 6 "Legacy in a rhyme"; Matt sounds fantastic on this song and it's extremely impressive how he's pulled off such a wonderful performance on a slow and piano-oriented/orchestrated song like this one, as he's always been known for his vocals in more aggressive songs. That said, I can't help but wonder how Lance would've sounded on this song, as well as the remainder of the CD. So even though I've been pleasantly surprised with the quality of 'Immortal' and also of how well Matt has fit with the band, a part of me misses what could've been.

Just like the band's previous 'Legend of the bone carver', you will surely see a wide range of opinions on 'Immortal', if you haven't already. Yeah, everything from "disappointment" to "masterpiece". So it's definitely a CD that you need to hear before purchasing, but I will say that I think fans of the Iced Earth CDs with Matt on vocals should really dig this. However, I could see it going either way for those who are fans of Pyramaze's first 2 CDs (with Lance) and have never been into Iced Earth. Personally, I like 'Legend of the bone carver' more, and I also like Lance with the band more, but this ended up being a very satisfying CD that exceeded my expectations.




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