Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Justin Gaines | Northern Virginia | 07/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oh man, as soon as I heard that trademark scream at the very beginning of Year of the Phoenix, I felt this warm sense of belonging flood over me. That's right, vocal titan Matt Barlow is back from his self-imposed exile...and he's not (just) in Iced Earth! Matt Barlow's voice was what drew me to Iced Earth in the first place, and since his departure from that band I've been curious to hear what he'd sound like in a fully functional band - not just following Jon Schaffer's marching orders.
Listening to Immortal made me realize two things very quickly. One, it's been way too long since Matt Barlow's voice was heard on a metal album, and two, he's really too good for Iced Earth. In joining Pyramaze, a very tight melodic power metal band that's somewhere between Circle II Circle and Blind Guardian, Barlow gets a chance to showcase his vocal range in a classier, more melodic, and more progressive setting (plus he gets a break from singing about Satan and Stargate). The Danish band gave Barlow some of the lightning fast riffs he was used to in Iced Earth, but with more emphasis on melody and the strengths of the whole song - not just the riffs. This is a win-win situation for everyone. Barlow gets to stretch his wings in a way that Iced Earth might not otherwise provide, Pyramaze gets a superior vocalist and some much deserved exposure, and we as fans get to hear the incredible results of their union.
Legend Of The Bone Carver was a fine album, and Pyramaze with Lance King gave a great live performance when I saw them at ProgPower USA a couple of years back, but Immortal takes the band to a whole new level. Fans of melodic power metal will definitely want to check out the new and improved Pyramaze.
2008: "Year of the Phoenix" Best CD of the Year!!!
J. Colpitts | Hudson, MA | 06/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's right, the title says it all! Pyramaze return with their 3rd studio album, Immortal, and 2008's Best CD of the Year (so far anyways...) Do you remember the amazing and epic sound of Legend of the Bone Carver? Immortal has that same emotional, amazing, epic feel, but at the same time is something new and fresh! I first heard about Pyramaze just recently when they posted the news about Matt Barlow being their new frontman after Lance King left. And in just that short time, they've made their way to become my 3rd favorite band, with Iced Earth and Blind Guardian ahead of them. But I listen to over 200 different bands, and to make it to No. 3 in that short amount of time is something not most bands can do! To speak more of Matt, Immortal will be his first full-length release since his return to the Metal Scene, however, it will also be his last release with Pyramaze because he has returned to Iced Earth as their Frontman. Now that all that information is out of the way, let's go over the tracks:
1. ARISE: This has a similar music feel to Era of Chaos (from Legend of the Bone Carver/LOTBC) but the vocals in this song remind me a lot of the intro vocal work on Burnt Offerings (from Burnt Offerings by Iced Earth). It's a nice intro song.
2. YEAR OF THE PHOENIX: As soon as this song kicks in, you know Pyramaze have done their share of amazing writing. When Pyramaze released Legend of the Bone Carver, it's sound both musically and production-wise sounded much different from Melancholy Beast (Pyramaze's debut album). I think that when LOTBC was released, they really found their sound. This song ensure's you of that. With Matt Barlow on vocals, it reminds me a lot of the sound Horror Show (by Iced Earth) had. AMAZINGNESS!!!
3. GHOST LIGHT: This song starts off similar to What Lies Beyond (from LOTBC). You know, that heavy guitar with tight drums. The Vocals are very heavy during the verses, which is something Matt Barlow is amazing at. The chorus opens up and is very beautiful. The song's breakdown is very soft and epic with a lot of keys and beautiful vocals, at first, but then kicks into a really cool, raw guitar solo. This ends in heavenly vocals.
4. TOUCHED BY THE MARA: This song starts off with clean guitar and piano. A nice transition from Ghost Light. It then kicks in after the opening. There is a lot of layered vocal tracks in this song as well as vocal effects. It really adds to its feel. A very beautiful song.
5. A BEAUTIFUL DEATH: This song starts off with some nice guitar work. I really like the vocals in this track. They are very powerful. The chorus is very unique as well. I would say this song is one of the album's strong points.
6. LEGACY IN A RHYME: This is a very beautiful song all the way through. It gives you goosebumps. Matt does some beautiful vocal work on this song. This would be the "Until We Fade Away" (from MB) or "She Who Summoned Me" (from LOTBC) of the album. Just without distortion.
7. CARAMON'S POEM: This song's intro has a similar feel to the intro to The Birth (from LOTBC). It has a lot of great musicianship. This is another strong point on the album.
8. THE HIGHLAND: This has a very mystical opening. When this song finally kicks in, it kind of reminds me of Sleepy Hollow (from MB). This song doesn't have a solid sound all the way through, it is very progressive. It features one of my favorite guitar solos on the album.
9. SHADOW OF THE BEAST: Another strong point of the album. It starts off heavy and then transitions into a melody of harmonizing guitar, mystical keys, and powerful drums. The vocal work is amazing in this song as well. I like the lyrics a lot too. This song features another great guitar solo.
10. MARCH THROUGH AN ENDLESS RAIN: This is a very epic song. A lot of great musicianship. It's a great song to end the album. I love the track title and feel.
I'd have to say that this album, music-wise, is probably a perfect mix of their first two albums. There are elements from both albums present in Immortal. The biggest difference sound-wise from LOTBC, in my opinion, is the guitar solos. They have their own unique sound for this album. Overall, it is an amazing album and I can't stress how much I suggest buying it. I'd swear this album was produced using NICOTINE, because it's highly addictive! You won't be disappointed.
Pyramaze Meets Iced Earth
Psychadelicryder | New Jersey | 07/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful CD that combines the extraordinary talents of Pyramaze and the vocal genius of Iced Earth's, Matthew Barlow. It is metal taken to an interesting new level... it has tracks that are metal in its purest form... and those that are combine metal and melodic harmonies in beautifully unique ways. Well worth buying whether you are a fan of Pyramaze or Iced Earth (or just a fan of metal in general)!"
Matt Barlow, can you please be in 2 bands?
Zeno Rodrigo | Staten Island, NY USA | 09/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a die hard Iced Earth fan and I was devastated to hear Matt Barlow left Iced Earth, even though Owens did a great job. Then I heard he was recording with a great band and I was excited but not as much as I would be if it were Iced Earth. I found out the name of the band and checked out the myspace song "Year of The Phoenix", which I thought was vocally insane, and musically decent, so the next time I went to the cd store I picked the album up. I loved every minute of it. It had a "Horror Show" feeling with a progressive European metal twist. The music was real good and Barlow's voice just brought it to the next level. Pyramaze guitarist and leader, Michael Kammeyer's songwriting is very good. You wont hear one bad or generic track on here. I understand that after Barlow rejoined with Iced Earth, Kammeyer decided to get another vocalist becuase they needed someone to tour with their band and probably knew that wouldn't be possible with Barlow back in Iced Earth and his job. Maybe sometime in the future these two forces can reunite for another great album."