Pharaoh: Bury the Light (Cruz Del Sur) 

Believe it not, killer power metal doesn't begin and end with Iced Earth and DragonForce. There's a less-widely known yet musically superior band out there that will blow the top of your (metal)head off if you give them a chance.

I'm talking, of course, about the mighty Pharaoh, featuring singer Tim Aymar, the guy whose pipes powered Control Denied's The Fragile Art of Existence, and six-string shredder Matt Johnsen, who is so good that he probably works for NASA.

Melodic and technical to a fault, Pharaoh's fifth album rides a fine line between heavy-metal radio-friendliness and advanced prog-metal ecstasy. Just when Aymar starts to massage your brain with an insistent vocal line, along comes Johnsen with a dazzling solo to launch your imagination into the stratosphere. Every song is dreamy and defiant, from the ferociously thrashed-up riff frenzy of "The Wolves," to the nuclear-physics-grade time signatures of "Graveyard of Empires." The Iron Maiden worship that Pharaoh once wore like a badge of honor is now completely rubbed away, save for a few galloping rhythms—as found on "Castles in the Sky," for instance.

In sum, the band has achieved a perfect balance of intellectual precision and aggressive tact. Also, Aymar's lyrics have never sounded more poetic (and less cheesy) than in the savage "Burn With Me," a song of kinship and fealty like no other.

More by Jarret Keene

  • Death on Two Rails

    Salvadoran journalist rides the deadly migrant trail
    • Jan 16, 2014
  • Daft Punk and Beyond

    Some of our critics' favorite albums of the year, part one
    • Dec 26, 2013
  • Thighs Like Us

    Ron Terpening's Cloud Cover reveals a sexy supporting character
    • Dec 19, 2013
  • More »


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

The Range

26 Great Things to Do in Tucson This Weekend: Jan. 18 to 20

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Thursday, Jan. 17

Four Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Wednesday Jan. 16

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Local Albums of the Year

    The albums Tucsonans released this year are as diverse and wild as the Sonoran desert itself.
    • Dec 20, 2018
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2019 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation