Pyramaze - Contingent
Inner Wound Recordings
Progressive Power Metal
13 songs (56:36)
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Joel
Album of the month
I don't believe that Pyramaze is a band that needs an introduction on MetalReviews. With over a decade and a half of music, and three different singers(first two being the famous Lance King(also owner of Nightmare Records) and Matt Barlow(a little band he was in called Iced Earth!) Pyramaze has gone through some changes, and yet at the same time still sounds like Pyramaze to me. Hugely melodic passages, strong vocals, and equal parts, guitar and synths/pianos balance out their sound. With Contingent, it a conceptual album, that is being described as "An epic post-apocalyptic conceptual piece inspired by current events, the human spirit to overcome struggle and diversity, and the brotherhood that lies there in." Yes a very heavy message, that does not get over melodramatic, pompous, or self righteous, which is truly an achievement in itself.

Normally I would review each individual song, and highlight what I liked, loved, or did not care for. With a conceptual album this is definitely not something to do, it is like telling you the climax, then the last thirty seconds of movie, without you even getting the chance to experience it. So without trying to ruin anything, I can tell you the first two songs Land Of Information and Kingdom Of Solace definitely set the album up well. What I noticed keyboardist Jonah Weingarten's piano being used as more of background instrument. Like the intro of Star Men and A World Divided where piano chords can be heard during the chorus. You can watch the conceptual and very artistic video. HERE. That great piano to can also be heard midway through the disc, with the back to back tracks, Obsession and Heir Apparent. I think Weingarten is a very underrated keyboard player, whose name deserves to be said next to the very best Progressive Rock and Metal have to offer. Speaking of another of his band members, Terje Haroy who is now singing on his second Pyramaze release. Shows more diversity of his vocals, and his range. His power is a given, but also the softer moments of his voice like in the middle of the track Nemesis and the ballad The Tides Won't Change, which is a duet with vocalist Kristen Foss. I know many people are huge fans of Lance King(myself included) and Matt Barlow on Immortal(I am again here, a fan), I believe Haroy's performance is on the same level, and offers a performance that continues in a great tradition for Pyramaze vocalists. He is the now and future of the band, what the past may have been, is only former glory, not the barometer for the future of the band. As I promised not to go into details of each song, all I can say is there is the heavier guitar focused songs like the first two I mentioned, the driving rhythms of 20 Second Century. As well as the mid paced groove oriented riffs of their last disc, Disciples of the Sun, and then the previous mentioned ballad.

All in all this is a complete album, with none of the songs, hitting the six minute mark, yet each making their own impact. If listened to as a whole, this could be heard as one very long song, with different moving parts, and a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Production is top notch, but that is expected from the producer extraordinaire(and bassist!), Jacob Hansen, who I am also a fan of his previous bands work, as well as his production of many of my favorite releases in recent years. Like my movie reference earlier, Contigent also gives you a chance to use your imagination to follow the story, as long as you also pay attention to the thought provoking lyrics. I have been a fan of every release, which makes this next statement shocking even to me, this is the best Pyramaze disc, from start to finish(and The Legend of Bone Carver is still a favorite I listen too). Progressive Power Metal at its very best, technical without being a show-off fest, melodic without being powerless, a complete disc, a new standard from which Pyramaze has now set!

Killing Songs :
All of them when listened as a whole disc
Joel quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Pyramaze that we have reviewed:
Pyramaze - Epitaph reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Pyramaze - Disciples Of The Sun reviewed by Joel and quoted 90 / 100
Pyramaze - Immortal reviewed by Ben and quoted 95 / 100
Pyramaze - Legend Of The Bone Carver reviewed by Ben and quoted 95 / 100
Pyramaze - Melancholy Beast reviewed by Ben and quoted 97 / 100
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