The musical journey of Canadian progmetal act PYRAMID THEOREM started around 2007, in a basement full of RUSH memorabilia. Connected by the passion for the same heroes and inspired by the spirit of the location, the quartet practiced and jammed together. Over the years, the four musicians perfected their technical skills and started to develop their own sound. Since then, they had several opportunities to share the stage with some impressive artists, such as SONATA ARCTICA, FATES WARNING, and SYMPHONY X, receiving great fan feedback, and have released two albums: the strong, self-titled debut in 2012, followed by “Elements of Surprise” in 2017. Both efforts show an enthusiastic upcoming band with impressive abilities, trying a variety of styles, but still searching for their own identity. Now it’s time for their third album, “Beyond the Exosphere,” set for release on 21 August 2020. As a comparison of the three album covers suggests, that this could be a big step in the right direction; while the artworks on the two predecessors is reminiscent of ’70s prog releases because of their colorful painting-style, the new cover looks modern and clear, showing a navigational instrument.
In times dominated by streaming platforms and the (unfortunately) shortened attention span of many listeners, a certain self-confidence is needed to start an album with an 18-minute prog epic. This is exactly what PYRAMID THEOREM do with their title track: they give the music enough time to develop. Long instrumental parts alternate with beautiful melodic lines, each instrument getting room to unfold its magic. I love the warm guitar tone and the keyboards bring in a perfect space-y feeling. The different moods grow like waves to carry you away and it’s incredibly awesome! The production is fantastic and it’s clear from the beginning that the band reached a new level now. I don’t want to go into detail here, as “Beyond the Exosphere” deserves to be explored by yourself, but if you are into bands like SYMPHONY X or AYREON, you should take a seat and enjoy the ride!
The following four songs are far shorter but no less interesting: “Under Control” brings the focus more toward the expressive vocals, with great melodies during the verse, and a catchy, multi-layered chorus. The Hammond organ harmonies are amazing and the keyboard and guitar players impress the listener again with great interludes. Next up is “Freedom,” a powerful hymn that was stuck in my head for days and didn’t let go. The instrumentation fits perfectly and even gets support by the sudden appearance of bells.
“Closer to the End” starts slower, but is still very intense. The polyphonic vocals and the organ/keyboard solos challenging the guitars will conquer many proggy hearts in its storm. What deserves an extra mention is the fact that the lyrics are quite easy to understand (on the album as a whole, but in this track in particular).
Even though it’s hard to believe, “Intonate” is already the last song of “Beyond the Exospheres,” opening with some mechanical sounds followed by a groovy riff. The second half of “Intonate” is instrumental again and – leaving me a bit lost during the first listens – fades out at the end. Following the lyrics, plus the feeling of being transported by the music, it’s a kind of departure, which leaves me with a strong need to switch to “Side B” or “Part 2” and continue this great listening pleasure…
With “Beyond the Exosphere,” PYRAMID THEOREM created an exciting album that brings in all the right ingredients for prog-lovers. Even though the two previous releases showed the musical abilities of all band members, the development they made with this newest effort is impressive because of the professional production by Rick Chycki on the one side and the more consistent, yet still varied song-writing on the other. The musical flow is mesmerizing, making the whole album a unit without any filler. Each musician has special moments, but they always reate the right background for the others as well, especially the great vocals, that come up with a wide range and beautiful melodies. To put it in a nutshell: you can still hear their influences, but I’d say PYRAMID THEOREM found their own identity now.
Written by Katha
- Beyond the Exosphere
- Under Control
- Closer to the End
Sam Ermellini – Guitar, vocals
Stephan Di Mambro – Keyboard, guitar, vocals
Christian Di Mambro – Bass, vocals
Vito De Francesco – Drums