With a decidedly iffy front CD cover – a tiger picture with pink slashes across it – I wasn't expecting much from Pharaoh Overlord. But instead of filing it in the 'really, are you serious?' pile, I found myself getting utterly drawn in by their fabulously off the wall, chaotic collection of songs.
I do like a band that can come up with something a little different, stepping outside of the norm, quirky even, and this lot do that with consummate ease!
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It's not instant love with this album, more a growing intrigue. A 'creeping up on you so you'd hardly notice' kind of thing, but there's definitely something about it and the more you play it, the more that 'definitely something' turns into 'something bloody amazing!'
Pharaoh Overlord are an 'experimental' rock band from Finland featuring three guys from Circle; Jussi Lehtisalo, Janne Westerlund and Tomi Leppanen.
It was a project originally formed so they could indulge themselves with a bit of Stoner Rock. Since then, they have progressed and diversified to bring us this weirdly wonderful psychedelic/stoner/kickass and full-on Rock 'n' Roll album, 'Out Of Darkness'.
'The Eyes Of The Pharaoh' is a short, wonderfully delicate guitar intro before the fierce guitar riffs kick in to 'Out Of Darkness', a more traditional Metal rock track of swift tempo changes. 'Devastator' is a different beast altogether, over nine minutes of some blitzing, highly charged and power packed rock that harks back to the late 80s, persistent and relentless in equal measures, throwing around screaming, fizzing guitar play and heavy drums throughout. Not many lyrics, but with a song this fun, who cares!?
'Doomsday Mourning' intros like something out of a 70s horror movie soundtrack, big and theatrical before the huge riffs pound into your head. Jussi Lehtisalo's rather odd vocals fit well into this old styled number that blends drama, melodies and hard rock; bizarre but it works.
'Transylvanian Afternoon' is another oddball, dark little track that showcases their more European influences and 'We Came To Rock' switches up gears to a racing, full on rip snorter and does exactly what it says on the tin and 'No Speed Limit' keeps the pulse racing with some amphetamine fuelled, speed Metal that lays waste to any idea that this is just a one pace band!
'Unseen Eye' takes a rather more progressive rock twist with off kilter synth melodies added to the mix and they finish with a flourish on the utterly fantastic 'I Am the Light', a slow, sleazy stoner track that simply oozes style, a throwback to tunes from the great 70s rock bands and easily my favourite of the lot.
If you like your music a little different then you'll love 'Out of Darkness'. Weird, off the wall but absolutely sodding wonderful!