Black Pyramid: II (Meteorcity) 

To secure a suitably heavy-sounding band name, all you apparently need do is affix the adjective "black" beside a noun—Sabbath, Flag, (Veil) Brides.

This time we have Black Pyramid, a Massachusetts power trio that doesn't initially seem inspired by the Luxor, the black, pyramid-shaped Las Vegas hotel—though the band has things in common. Like the Strip icon, Black Pyramid possess an ancient, evil aura, and once you get up close, feel tomblike, cursed and crushingly surreal. However, Black Pyramid are, according to their own description, "galloping war metal," and the mixing by Justin Pizzoferrato (Witch) and mastering by Matt Washburn (Mastodon) should give you an indication about what Black Pyramid seek to achieve—ripping your ears apart with massive riff after massive riff.

It doesn't get any more vicious than "Mercy's Bane," a call to arms and assurance of no quarter. "Moloch, burn them down / raise their temples to the ground," sings guitarist Darryl Shepard. The fact that these songs contain vocal melodies may discourage some extreme metalheads, but Shepard's gritty delivery will win them over.

II presumably draws inspiration from Grant Morrison's The Invisibles graphic novels, but the real muse feels like Robert E. Howard's Kull the Conqueror. I love High on Fire, so I hate saying this: Black Pyramid stand as the new stoner-doom paradigm. An instant, eardrum-incinerating classic.

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