Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pharaoh-Be Gone

Cruz Del Sur

Seeing the Cruz Del Sur label on a label normally means the band is going to have some strong 80's-early 90's metal influences behind their music. Pharaoh are no exception as they play a style that is largely power metal, but also includes some progressive metal traits stirred in the collective pot as well. I hear some Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Crimson Glory and even some early Dream Theater on this release. Pharaoh lean towards a heavier, guitar pumping variety of power metal and that gives them a slightly more fierce approach than many power metal bands who believe the genre needs lot of flourish and pageantry. Another big plus is they cut straight to where they need to go and just tear into the meat of their material with little ceremony. That certainly appeal to me with this type of style because my eyes glaze over and my mind wonders when I sit through too many power bands who drone on with too much nonsense before getting at their real material. These guys also blend in some progressive metal elements to a lesser extent and they work because it's a smooth mix and the styles actually compliment one another. The two problems I have with this release are the vocals and a slight lack of originality. The vocals are perhaps deeper and less melodic than some singers in this musical genre and that could work except that here it's just a little too flat at times to really completely keep up with the music. Being even a little original in power metal seems to be a difficult task as so much seems to have been done already. As I said there are times where their aggressive take helps, but they do tend to hit so much on established sounds that it may be hard for them to get much of a following outside of just power metal fans. Still a decent outing that was overall steady and not one clunker on the entire CD.

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