After receiving a fairly dismal review for their last album “Be Gone” from critics across the land, Philadelphia power metal wonders Pharaoh are back with a new album “Bury The Light” which hit the shelves in February this year, and well, let’s just say things didn’t start out as well as they might have planned.
The first song on this album ‘Leave Me Here To Dream’ was not very inspiring, not only is the name cringe-worthy but it sounded like it was recorded using “Garageband”. The solo was messy and was out of sync with the other instruments, another one of those “I’ll just play random notes as fast as I can” bands. First impression: “wannabe Dragonforce”.
However, this was not the case in second track ‘The Wolves’ with its more operatic sound. The solo was a lot more thought out and didn’t sound like rambling notes, Hallelujah! Songs such as ‘Castles In The Sky’ and ‘The Spiders Thread’ sounded heavily Iron Maiden and Dio influenced, with a touch of Rush and Judas Priest.
‘The Year Of The Blizzard’ starts off with the soft acoustic guitars before crashing into a wall of heavy head banging licks, delivering seven minutes of raunchy power metal heaven. Acoustically, you can really hear the elegant yet guttural vocals of Tim Aymar showing it’s not always about trying to screech as high as you can.
Debatably, the best song on the album is the almost “battle metal” sounding track titled ‘Burn With Me.’ With the jumpy guitars and the twangy vocals, this song makes you feel like you should be standing on a hill preparing for battle.
This band is a bit like chalk and cheese, or what the Brits like to call a “marmite band.” You either love it or you hate it. If you like Judas Priest and you like Dragonforce then you might like Pharaoh. However, why would you want a Pharaoh if you already have a Judas Priest and you already have a Dragonforce?
It strongly depends on how much you like power metal. Arguably, power metal isn’t the biggest genre hitting up the place right now. As much as I enjoyed this album, it wouldn’t be of surprise if these guys are forgotten about after this album. After spending the past four years off the radar after “Be Gone” crashed and burned in the ears of music critics, this only justifies my case.
Overall, if you forget about the first song, then this is a great, fast paced power metal album. Compared to earlier work, this album is fairly similar, maybe not as battle-metal like as previous work such as ‘Up The Gates’ from their second album “The Longest Night (2006)” and ‘No Remains’ from their last album “Bury Me (2008).” If you like Pharaoh’s earlier work, you will definitely like “Bury The Light.”