Northampton, Massachusetts, psychedelic doom metal trio Black Pyramid take a look at their past by reissuing off the classic and seminal second album, titled “II.” Their first album, “Black Pyramid,” was released in 2009, and the band instantly gained a cult following.
The widespread recognition for its psychedelic, hard-hitting, and progressive take on stoner doom mater, with powerful themes on war, general alienation, and the occult. To the best of my belief, there have been some tumultuous few years for Black Pyramid, where the lineup changed, ultimately destabilizing the band and causing a hiatus in 2013. Only a few years later, they reunited and returned to the live circuit.
With their reissue, “II” marks the final recording with their classic lineup (Beresky, Gein, and Neely), showing the band at their creative peak. With that, Black Pyramid delivers a powerful and rumbling doom-metal mixed with stoner rock and epic heavy metal, a style that the trio often calls “psychedelic war metal.”
As soon as you dive into the album, you realize it has everything you could need to satiate your appetite for the old-school style of doom. Dare I say that “II” sounds just as exciting and fresh as it did in 2012? The hypnotic hyper-energy on ‘Endless Agony’ leaves the impression that it would be an absolute live banger until you hear the entire reissues and realize in a headbanger in every sense of the word.
‘Mercy’s Bane’ and ‘Night Queen’ are a real treat for the band’s fans, as they evolve as they go along, with fantastic, melodic sections and plenty of great riffing. ‘Dreams Of The Dead’ is the first of two over ten-minute doom epics, seeing Black Pyramid double down on the progressive rock and heavy psych part of their sound. The amazing guitar work on ‘Tanelorn’ paints an emotional picture in the listener’s head for only less than two minutes. You’re then launched into the ominous ‘Sons of Chaos,’ a brooding and dark song packed with dark riffing.
‘Empty Handed Insurrection’ throws you into a chaotic waltz that summons the evil atmospheres of black metal as harrowing melodies encircle your mind. The thing about “II” is that as outside of my normal listening routine as this is, it’s something I didn’t even know I wanted or needed. It’s both. Whether you’re an old fan rediscovering this album or a new fan discovering the Black Pyramid‘s music for the first time, it’s fair to say that “II” deserves many more plaudits than it gets. Unquestionably, Black Pyramid has passed the test of time, considerably paying tribute to their influences.
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