Black Pyramid – Black Pyramid Reissue
Labyrinth Of Thoughts Records
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 55:21
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, you handsome and beautiful bunch of painted and pierced misfits! It is I, Dark Juan, and it’s fucking freezing up in the North of England. I’m reclined upon my chaise longue, replete with a substantial breakfast that was considerably enhanced by the addition of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, although my lower intestine begs to differ in that regard. Having quelled the rebellious beast that is my digestive system with copious cups of Yorkshire Tea (all other tea is not real), I have reached into the extensive archives of metal at my disposal and carefully selected another platter to consider and offer my opinions on, seeing as I’m not permitted out apart from to work and therefore my Ministry of the young and nubile virgins of the local area has come to a temporary halt. There are some in West Yorkshire, you know. You just have to do a bit of digging to find them… However, the police took a dim view of my Ministry and tried to fine me for being out without permission. They did not succeed, so they got me for speeding instead, the bastards.
Today’s offering (as you probably no doubt have ascertained already seeing as this piece of nonsense you’re reading is titled) is from American (Northampton, Massachusetts) stoner stalwarts Black Pyramid and is a reissue of their self-titled album, originally released in 2009, and long out of print. Greek label Labyrinth Of Thoughts have created 100 neon orange vinyl LPs and 200 brown vinyl LPs for you to purchase via their page or the band’s Bandcamp.
So what do Black Pyramid offer, I heard literally no one ask? The band themselves describe their music as “psychedelic war metal”. I describe it as sub-Sabbathian stoner metal with psychedelic influences. Yes, boys and girls and all other genders, we have returned to riff nirvana after an extended hiatus plumbing the depths of just what death metal bands are capable of. We have returned to melody, extended jams and the desire to get screamingly high on many party treats and sit there and be beguiled by stoner metal done right. The album is a bit of a surprise to be honest. I was expecting mogadon slow, drawn out riffing and the kind of vocal performance that only happens when you have drunk a bottle of Jack and have been smoking the weed for a long, long time. Instead, the vocals and the music are not afraid of picking up their metaphorical skirts and getting a bloody move on, ‘No Life King’ being a prime example of this and also being a fucking good heavy metal song into the bargain. Vocalist and guitarist Andy “Dinger” Beresky has an engaging voice, not employing the ultra-guttural, whiskey-soaked delivery of other stoner vocalists and instead opting for an interesting mix of Ozzy and John Garcia actually singing. I mean, you all know I love extreme metal but there are times that I get sick to fucking death of vocalists grunting like a hippo on its vinegar stroke or the kind of howling that normally comes from a particularly frantic, cocaine and amphetamine fuelled coupling of a banshee and a werewolf. It’s nice to hear actual words and singing for a change and Dinger is a bit of a tasty riffmeister into the bargain, giving it full beans and no mistake on instrumental track ‘Macedonia’, hammering the fuck out of his guitar until the middle eight kicks in and we are treated to the kind of wah soaked, fuzz-fuelled psychedelia that gets this hellpriest very excited indeed. The sex wee is already flowing…
What is it about wah and phaser that makes it so compelling? The intro to ‘The Worm Ouroboros’ is a drifting, metaphysical thing of beauty before the fuzz and distortion kick you right in the head with dirty great hobnailed boots and keeps on stamping. This song is probably the most stoner song on the record, as it meanders into realms of mist filled, mysterious swampiness in the middle before returning to the righteous path of the riff. The riff is everything… The central riff on ‘The Cauldron Born’ is just sublime. Album closer ‘Wintermute’ does lean a little heavily on ‘Planet Caravan’ on the intro though…
Production wise, this is pretty good. Although the drums sit too low in the mix, they are easily heard and even when tubthumper Clay Neely is leaning hard on the floor toms they don’t overpower the sound. And joy of joys I can actually hear the bass drum properly. The cymbals are crisp and organic sounding and the bass heavy and fuzzy enough to rearrange internal organs and crush bones to jellylike slabs without making the band sound like a giant buzzing hornet an inch from your ear. The guitar is masterfully produced – heavier than several London buses being applied directly to your spine but retaining fluidity and switching effortlessly between distorted violence and fuzz phaser and phaser wah induced psychedelia.
In conclusion then – This is a mighty fine record, even though it brings nothing new to stoner or psychedelia. It’s a combination of actors that just works – good songwriting, excellent riffage, the right mix of psychedelic influences and raging metal, enjoyable vocals and a well-produced and mixed record makes for a wholly satisfying listen.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Black Pyramid 8/10 for a masterful stoner metal record. Well done, chaps.
01. …And The Gods Made War
02. Visions Of Gehenna
03. Mirror Messiah
04. No Life King
06. Macedonia (Vinyl Bonus Track)
07. Twilight Grave
08. The Worm Ouroboros
09. The Cauldron Born
Andy “Dinger” Beresky – Vocals and guitars
Dave Gein – Bass
Clay Neely – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.