There’s a common saying that bands have to prove themselves with their third release, to see whether they’ll find their place in the music world or get lost into the masses. Even though “Epitaph” is the 6th album for the Danish-America prog/power metal band PYRAMAZE, it’s the third with a constant line-up and therefore could be seen as this important in their discography as well. Founded in 2002, they recorded two albums with vocalist Lance King, followed by one with Matt Barlow (ex-ICED EARTH, ASHES OF ARIES) on mic. After several line-up changes, the remaining musicians joined forces with Jacob Hansen and Terje Harøy to move on with two more highly acclaimed albums. Their newest effort, “Epitaph,” was released on 13 November 2020 (via AFM Records), and we were curious how the quintet’s music has developed since 2017.
The intro and title track “Epitaph” seamlessly follows suit from the previous release. Fans of “Contingent” will immediately feel at home thanks to the well-known, atmospheric keyboard sound, which leads into “A Stroke of Magic,” a heavy mid-tempo track. Guitars and keyboards deliver a solid basis for Terje Harøy to develop the melody line, sounding even stronger than 3 years ago. “Steal the Crown” starts with light keyboards, but comes up with more tension when the other instruments join in, grabbing the listener with its great dynamics thanks to the varying rhythms and catchy chorus. It’s definitely an early highlight.
Over the next songs, they continue this formula, with some variations in tempo. All instruments together build the fundament for the powerful vocals. The keyboards are very present, create the typical PYRAMAZE sound. Here and there, you can find a guitar solo, but most of the time, they have a more supportive role and play great, melodic hooks.
In “Transcendence,” you can hear Brittney Slayes (UNLEASH THE ARCHERS) as special guest, who adds an interesting contrast to Terje’s vocals, even though for me it feels as this song stays a bit behind the potential these two singers would offer. “World Foregone” is another favorite of mine and was published with a stunning video, which can be seen below.
The great finale comes with “The Time Traveller,” and the title couldn’t be more fitting, as Lance King, Matt Barlow, and Terje Harøy appear here. It’s a song that brings together the past and the present of this band, that seems to lead into a promising future. It’s an epic track with 12 minutes of playing time, and the most varied.
With “Epitaph,” PYRAMAZE developed their music more into the melodic powermetal direction, and less progressive. The star on the album is Terje Harøy for me, as he delivers a strong vocal performance, invites you to sing along with these amazing melodies and catchy choruses. The keyboards are omnipresent, come up with epic harmonies, and give the songs a recognizable sound. The production is good, you can hear each instrument very clear. At some points, I miss some variation, guitars, bass, and drums could get more spotlight here and there. But altogether, you can find many songs for your listening pleasure, so here’s high hope that this album could bring PYRAMAZE the attention they deserve.
Written by Katha
- A Stroke of Magic
- Steal my Crown
- Knights in Shining Armour
- Bird of Prey
- Your Last Call
- Transcendence (feat. Brittney Slayes)
- Final Hour
- World Foregone
- The Time Traveller (feat. Matt Barlow & Lance King)
Terje Harøy – Vocals
Toke Skjønnemand – Guitars
Jacob Hansen – Guitars / Bass
Jonah Weingarten – Keyboards
Morten Gade Sørensen – Drums
Interview with messier — “There’s only three of us, so we have to make it count and get the sound as big as we can.”