PHAROAH ??” After the Fire

Once upon a time in the 80’s, people weren’t so divided as to what kinds of metal they listened to. A fan of SLAYER was most likely also a fan of MAIDEN. It was all just called “heavy metal.” Philly’s PHAROAH recall that time period with their debut album, After the Fire. Fear not, this is not some attempt at recreating the cheesier elements of 80’s metal. They take a modern progressive approach to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. IRON MAIDEN is probably the biggest influence on the band’s sound. MAIDEN-style melodies and song structures are readily apparent. Matt Johnsen‘s excellent guitar work is highly reminiscent of Piece of Mind/Powerslave-era Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. He adds his own spin on things by adding a more technical and modern progressive approach. There are plenty of passages where he just shreds away and it sounds great. The band may be most notable for Tim Aymar, who was the vocalist in the late Chuck Shuldiner‘s CONTROL DENIED. His gritty, yet soaring vocals bring to mind a less flamboyant Bruce Dickinson. The biggest setback musically for the band is the fact that the drumming lags behind the skills of the other members. There are just very simple drum patterns keeping the beat underneath all of the intricate guitar work. It just doesn’t do it justice. The album has a great natural flow to it and that makes it a very enjoyable listening experience. No second listens are required to get what the band is trying to do. (Cruz Del Sur Music)

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