Pyramaze / Bloodlines is a sparkling example of melodic excellence

Where do you stand on Power Metal? It’s a genre that can be ghastly, sickly sweet, but at other times bone-crushingly heavy and just what you need. The over-produced style can often be the deciding factor, and with so many bands plying their trade, it’s often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Throw into the mix the fact that many members play in multiple bands, and it can be a challenging experience before a note has even been played.

Pyramaze – Bloodlines (AFM Records)

Release Date: 23 June 2023

Words: Paul Hutchings

Pyramaze have been together in some shape or form for over two decades. A four-year hiatus from 2011-15 precipitated a couple of changes in the line-up, with the band settled since then.

Founder member and drummer Morten Gade Sørensen and long-time keyboard player Jonah Weingarten were joined by guitarist/bassist Jacob Hansen and vocalist Terje Haroy. The line-up released Disciples Of The Sun shortly after, and now their fourth full-length arrives, in the shape of Bloodlines.

Pyramaze sit right on the edge of the Power Metal genre.
Pyramaze sit right on the edge of the Power Metal genre.

To be fair, Pyramaze sit right on the edge of the Power Metal genre, with their sound far more suited to the Progressive Melodic Metal label. The ten songs that greet you on Bloodlines are all of a high standard. They have lush melodies and harmonies throughout, accentuating the strong and clean vocals of Haroy, whose performance is one of the main highlights. Keyboards play a major role throughout the album, adding textured layers that blend neatly with the heavy riffs that tumble across the songs.

With several singles already released, there’s unlikely to be many shocks for fans of the Danish-based group. Alliance, which features Ad Infinitum/Dark Side of the Moon singer Melissa Bonny, could be from a film score, an uplifting and potent ballad that sits at the halfway mark.

There are also guest solos from Andrew Kingsley of Unleash the Archers and Tim Hansen, the son of legendary Helloween / Gamma Ray axe master Kai, on The Midnight Sun.

Aside from Alliance, the main body of work comprises well-crafted, up-tempo songs that straddle the breadth of the band’s styles. Opener Bloodlines certainly gets the interest piqued, whilst The Midnight Sun flexes between full-on Power Metal and more restrained melodic rock.

The symphonic nature of Stop The Bleeding may be slightly overblown for some, but overall, it’s the variation which makes Pyramaze more interesting than many who follow this route.

Haroy’s vocals take centre stage throughout, with his voice reminiscent of many Classic Metal and rock singers. You can hear everything from Evergrey’s Thomas Englund to Chris Cornell in his singing, but ultimately, he has a sound that is very much his own and which suits the soaring soundscapes that Pyramaze deliver.

Lyrically, Bloodlines looks at the curiosity of the unknown, introducing some personal elements to the songs. The intention, Weingarten explains, is to “stimulate our fans imagination, provide them with plenty of food for thought without limiting their freedom of interpretation.”

It’s not an album that every rock fan will love. If you dislike the saccharine-flavoured style that this genre often has, then the sweet, elevated elements of Bloodlines are unlikely to draw you in. But if you appreciate the multi-layered style that Pyramaze deliver, you should give Bloodlines a go.

Sleeve Notes

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