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Pyramaze - Immortal

Label: Locomotive Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

There is something magical about the third album when it comes to metal bands. Iron Maiden's third was 'Number of the Beast', Metallica's was 'Master of Puppets', and Helloween's 'Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2'. Now with Pyramaze, a great up and coming power metal band hailing from Denmark, you have 'Immortal' which takes the helm as a defining moment in the bands career thus far. The band's first two albums 'Melancholy Beast' (2004) and 'Legend of the Bone Carver' (2006) were both very good albums but it is on 'Immortal' that the tide has changed and the bar has been raised not just for the band, but for the overall genre of Power Metal.

Following the opening intro "Arise", the first thought that entered my mind upon the start of the first song "Year of the Phoenix" was "Man I missed that voice!" The voice that I am speaking of is none other than the amazing Matthew Barlow from Iced Earth, making his return to metal as the new singer of Pyramaze. "Year of the Phoenix" let me know right from the start that I was in for one hell of a ride with its crushing guitars, pounding drums, and atmospheric keys. This track packs it all into a punch that power metal fans dream of. "Ghost Light" continued on in the same fashion as I kept having to tell myself, "Yes Kevin, that really is Matt Barlow," as I never thought he would return to metal after leaving Iced Earth years ago to pursue other goals in life. Moving down a couple tracks, "Legacy In A Rhyme" is a calmer but moving track with great melodic inventions that allow Matt's voice to shine brighter and better than ever. "The Highland" has me recalling epic scenes from the movie Braveheart in my head as I imagine William Wallace leading his troops to battle. "Shadow of the Beast" is a great epic and the highlight of the album as it showcases all that the band is capable of from super heavy to super dynamic segments that stop and transform on the drop of a dime.

I have to hand it to the guys in Pyramaze for really stepping up their game here and taking charge of the genre. They sound better than ever before and are tighter than your 1984 W.A.S.P. tour t-shirt. This album is all killer with no filler whatsoever. Since the album has been released I am sad, yet happy, to report that Matt Barlow has left the band and returned home as the lead singer of Iced Earth. Although his stay in Pyramaze was short lived it will hardly be forgotten.

I have a feeling this will be an album of the year candidate for many. From where I am sitting I will say that the new Iced Earth record has a lot to live up to because this album is truly that good. Urban Breed (the former lead singer of Tad Morose) has replaced Matt Barlow in Pyramaze. I am sure he will bring a lot to the band with his incredible vocal ability. Back to the album, "Immortal", in my book, will be going down in the Power Metal Hall Of Fame alongside other greats who have release landmark genre albums such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iced Earth, Stratovarius, and Blind Guardian.

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