Monday, June 6, 2011

Pharaoh - 10 Years

10 Years
Cruz Del Sur Music

Originally planned for release more than a year ago, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, U.S.) power metal outfit Pharaoh have finally been given the green light from Cruz Del Sur Music to release their fan friendly E.P. ‘10 Years’, which draws together a collection of both previously released and new tracks that may have otherwise been hard to get a hold of for fans.
The first two songs on offer are the title track ‘Ten Years’ and ‘When We Fly’, both of which are previously unreleased offerings that were laid down during the recording sessions for their last full-length album ‘Be Gone’ (2008). Given the high standard of Pharaoh’s past work, both the new tracks are as every bit classic sounding as you would expect. ‘Ten Years’ is definitely a favourite with its mix of traditional heavy metal and power metal influences on the musical front, with Dawnbringer/Fool’s Game guitarist Matt Johnsen impressing to no end with his diverse array of riffs and memorable lead breaks, while ex-Control Denied vocalist Tim Aymar provides enough bite and melody in his approach to give the song a slightly different vibe to what you would otherwise expect from the band. ‘When We Fly’ is fairly traditional Pharaoh fare, and the kind of song that could have easily slotted on ‘Be Gone’ without sounding out of place.
Next up are ‘Reflection And The Inevitable Future’ and ‘Nothing I Can Say’, both of which were originally released on a seven inch single that accompanied the vinyl release of ‘Be Gone’. Again, both tracks could have easily slotted on the band’s last full-length release without sounding out of place. But in terms of a stand out, ‘Nothing I Can Say’ is a definite favourite with Aymar’s towering performance a stunning showcase of what he can deliver both in the higher and lower registers of his vocal range.
Finishing up the E.P. are a couple of covers, which are New Model Army’s ‘White Light’ (Originally from 1993’s ‘The Love Of Hopeless Causes’) and Slayer’s ‘Tormentor’ (From 1983’s ‘Show No Mercy’). While the band’s choice to cover Slayer is understandable (Not to mention worthy given their take on the thrash classic is well done), their decision to take on a New Model Army tune is something a little unexpected and different to what you would normally expect. But having said that, the choice was a sound one, with ‘White Light’ turning out to be one of the E.P. absolute unexpected gems, and one of the few moments where the band take the opportunity to take their music outside their familiar comfort zone.
‘Ten Years’ may not be the follow-up to ‘Be Gone’ that fans have been anxiously waiting for (That is scheduled to arrive around the end of the year according to the band), this little E.P. is a great little stop-gap release, and one that fans will find slots perfectly amongst the band’s past releases. In other words, this is one highly recommended release.

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© Justin Donnelly