Black Pyramid – II


By Gruesome Greg

A lot has happened since Black Pyramid released their critically-acclaimed debut. They’ve opened for a lotta big-name bands in New England and toured the Northeast, hit up Europe with Blood Farmers and played Roadburn, recorded their second album—and then singer/guitarist Andy Beresky found religion (or something like that), and left the band amongst much message board fanfare—which only makes this, their sophomore album, all the more anticipated.

From the get-go, I can tell that they’ve opted for a cleaner, more progressive sound with opening track “Endless Agony.” This isn’t the sludgy gutpunch of “Visions of Gehenna,” but a sorta prog-meets-black metallic opus, somewhere in between Demontage and Atlantean Kodex. Not exactly what I was expecting, but not bad…

“Mercy’s Bane” is also a little more upbeat than their first album, Beresky adding a little atmosphere to his trademark pirate sneer. There’s still some decent doomy riffage here, but it doesn’t hit me the way some of the songs on their self-titled did.

“Night Queen” delivers the goods, the type of tune that I’d expect from these guys, ‘cept with a bit more chug, and a clean-sounding solo that I didn’t see coming. No complaints here, I’d put this one right up there with some of the best stuff from their first album—and stick album closer “Into the Dawn” into the same boat.

“Dreams of the Dead” is slow, semi-melodic, almost ballad-like – definitely different from their first disc. Like “Night Queen,” it tends to drag on for a while, ending on an extended instrumental note. “Tanelorn” takes things even farther into acoustic territory, a stripped-down instrumental interlude that you wouldn’t hear on their debut. Despite what the album title would suggest, this is hardly Black Pyramid S/T Redux. In case you hadn’t noticed by now…

But is it a step forward, or backwards? That all depends on your perception. I, for one, don’t dig this as much as the first album, and am certainly curious as to which direction the band will take with a new frontman/axeman. One thing is certain, though. Black Pyramid III won’t be a blind buy for me…

(MeteorCity)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.