Review Summary: An album with all the traditional trappings of power metal, with a slight twist.
With a genre like power metal, you can listen to almost any given album and within a few seconds you immediately get a sense of familiarity. This album, like many more of the genres offerings, is largely dependant on rousing choruses, intricate guitar play, and soaring vocals all delivered with considerable amounts of speed, energy and intensity. Top it all off with a healthy dose of mythical story driven lyrics and you have Pharaoh’s latest album, Bury the Light. But that sense of familiarity is quite limited here. This is probably because of Pharaohs unconventional approach to songwriting.
The vocalist will immediately remind you of Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kursch, as he has a decidedly strained and shrill delivery that somehow manages to work in tandem with the rest of the band. The vocalist also has a good range, and can sing cleanly and efficiently when needed. The guitar playing is also very compelling, with catchy riffing, and intricate solos often played simultaneously to give the album a more layered sound. The album also has a couple acoustic interludes within some of the tracks, and they succeed in giving the album a more varied feel. The drumming is adequate enough, keeping the tempo and spicing things up in just the right places, and even the bass is audible and has a couple leading lines here and there. In short, all of the band members have talent and show it off throughout the album. Take all of this and throw in some catchy hooks and choruses and you have all the ingredients needed for an exception power metal album.
From a power metal fans perspective, this album is likely one of the most unique the genre has offered us this year because of the band’s knack for melodic and moody guitar playing. The band’s melodic style often clashes with the more traditional styles found here. One minute it would seem that the band is taking a heavier riff based approach, and then suddenly the band is playing a melodic and almost calm interlude, throwing the listener off balance, and making the record seem extremely inconsistent, but at the same time giving it a unique and varied sound. This often times makes for a somewhat confusing listen. It would almost seem as if the band is putting too many different ideas into their songs at once, as there are a lot of different styles to be found here. As a result, this album will take more than one listen until it really starts to sink in. In other words, this is a definite grower.
This is not your traditional power metal album. While Bury the Light certainly contains many traditional elements of the genre, the band plays extremely melodic metal with many different styles thrown together. If you’re looking for a traditional power metal album, this is not for you. But if you’re in the mood for something a little different, even slightly progressive, you may want to give this a listen.