After having reviewed the outstanding work by the American metal band Armory, I was pleased to find the latest work by Philadelphia's own Pharaoh, 'Be Gone.' It's seems melodic heavy metal is finding a way closer to my home (even though Pharaoh has two albums under their belts already). Philadelphia is only about 65 miles from dangerdog headquarters. Pharaoh offers strong and aggressive power metal with rough and raw vocals, fierce and, some times, thrash-like guitar work, and solid song composition. There are nods to the greats in their music like Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and fellow Americans Jag Panzer to mention only a few. Frankly, I was quite impressed.
Probably the singular feature that caught my ears was Tim Aymar's gritty and powerful vocals. His forceful delivers shows no sign of slowing down throughout the work, although he mellows a bit on the entry to 'Buried At Sea' and several times throughout. The song composition is deadly serious in it's assertiveness. By this, I don't mean that it's dark or bitterly heavy. Rather, this powerful metal is sweetened by both the rampant melody found in the arrangements and Matt Johnsen's fine guitar work. He plays like two guitarists flooding the music with great riffs. For the songs, check out the title track, really great metal with some progressive twists. Also consider, 'No Remains, 'Rats And Ropes,' a great title and even better thundering metal, and 'Cover Your Eyes and Pray.'
With a band like Pharaoh (and Armory) gracing our shores, I'm beginning to feel more confident in the state of American melodic metal. Unfortunately, I believe their greatest audience will still be found across the sea in Europe. It seems America is still not ready for a return to this style. Kudos to Cruz Del Sur Music for latching on to this fine band. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
Hailing from nearby Philadelphia, Pharaoh delivers a heaping helping of traditional heavy and power metal. Strong vocals and some fiery guitar work wrapped in powerful song arrangements make 'Be Gone' a great work.
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