"Be Gone" (Cruz Del Sur; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

Seeing the Cruz Del Sur label normally means that the featured band is going to have some strong 80s/early 90s 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 toward 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 lots 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 appeals to me with this type of style because my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders 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 it usually works 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 "Be Gone" is a decent outing that is steady overall and does not include one clunker on the entire CD.

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"The Longest Night" (Cruz Del Sur; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Pharaoh is a quartet whose traditional metal stance carries the band across ten tracks of well-versed, carefully constructed, Americanized power metal. 

Armed with airtight rhythms, slick yet forceful guitar work, and a commanding vocal presence, tracks like "Sunrise" and "In the Violet Fire" displays this band's penchant for unfurling some of the most glorious metallic firepower smack dab in the middle of the progressive and classic metal templates. Everything from Dio to Kamelot is referenced here, from the cascading melodies found on the galloping "Fighting" to the mid-tempo march that yields to a delectable guitar solo on "Endlessly." 

If you thought this type of metal was antiquated, Pharaoh seems up to task to make you rethink those notions, especially as the unleashing of the ultra-harmonic closing instrumental "Never Run" hits you for the first time. 

Horns up, folks, this one is packed with hair-raising heavy metal triumph through and through. 

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"After the Fire" (Cruz Del Sur; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

From its opening riffs, Pharaoh will have fans of Iron Maiden pumping their fists in the air, banging their heads, and screaming out "Up the Irons!" Pharaoh sound much like that band while at the same time forging their own unique style and sound.

Stylistically, Pharaoh most closely resemble "Powerslave"-era Iron Maiden but let's end the Maiden comparisons here and now. Pharaoh stand on their own as a heavy metal band, their songs studded with throbbing bass, fiery guitar riffs and blistering solos. Add to that mix the epic and/or searing vocals of Tim Aymar (former Control Denied) and you've got a great heavy metal band.

Virtually every track is a heavy rocker that will have you turning that volume control hard to the right. They gallop along at steady metal tempos while their lyrics tell the usual tales of battles, bravery and bloodshed. The best songs aren't necessarily the fastest. The slower paced songs still have the impact of a jackhammer and give Aymar the chance to really shine.

If you ever needed proof that not only veterans can play heavy metal the way it was meant to be played, Pharaoh's "After the Fire" is more than ample evidence.

Pharaoh: Tim Aymar - vocals; Matt Johnsen - guitars; Chris Kerns - bass; Chris Black - drums. 

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"After the Fire" (Cruz Del Sur; 2003)

Reviewed by Snidermann

My idea of the benchmarks of heavy metal are Judas Priest, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Iron Maiden. And, if you sound a little like one of these bands but still have the power to stand out on your own, you're going to do pretty well by me.

So Rough Edge editor R. Scott Bolton gives me a CD with nothing but the word "Pharaoh" and tells me to check it out. I'm intrigued already. And when I pop it into my CD player, I discover that Pharaoh has a strong, majestic sound that fills the room to the fullest and the louder you play it, the better it gets.

"After the Fire" is packed with persuasive, hard-driving rock'n'roll with more than a touch of Iron Maiden flavor that just fucking rocks. Each song is a finely crafted story that transports you in the land of Pharaohs - just like a movie or a good book. 

Like I said, all I know about this band is their name and that they are fucking awesome. I love to discover bands like this! You have to wonder where they've been all this time and you're so glad you finally found them.

Pharaoh is big sound with even better production and they will rock your world!

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400 .