Pharaoh Overlörd - Out Of The Darkness [Ektro Records - 2011]“Out of Darkness” is spandex wearing, macho strutting & head banging tribute to 80’s metal, NWOBM, & cheesy stadium rock- but this is not simply a rehash or a pale re-tread of others past work. You see Pharaoh Overlörd counts among it’s number members of cult finish genre shifting krautrock inspired band Circle, so what’s on offer here is metal that has more than a few odd edges, quirks & surprises in it.
Before we get into the sonic meat of the release we must discuss the great jewel case cd packaging/ artwork, which is some of the most neat & classy I’ve seen in some time. The front cover features a tiger surrounded by stars & space, and over 'n' around the tiger are bright pink day-glow lines- it’s certainly a very eye catching & a little odd!. The inlay booklet is printed on very high gloss paper, and is decorated with a mixture of blocks of day glow yellow & pink with some more star scape backdrops. The CD it self continues on the bright look, & is covered in pink & white strips which are overprinted with blocks of glossy transparent ink that feature the bands logo & the albums name- all told a very flamboyant, eye catching yet slight odd bit of packaging.
So onto the album it self, it features nine tracks in all, and opening the album we have a forty three second intro “ The Eyes of Pharaoh” which is a crystalline mixture of ornate classical guitar playing that has nice spacey fret textures running through it. Then we’re into the title track which staggers in with horn high chugging metal riffing that’s added to by Glen Danzig like wailing & baying vocals cutesy of Sam Velde from La based hard rock band Night Horse. After this is “Devastator”, and this is were things start to turn a little odd, to start with the track is fairly standard though enjoyable pumping & speeding 80’s Judas Priest like track, but around the five minute mark when the track feels like it should be dropping out the band locking down into a circling & repetitive groove with the lead singer( for this track it’s Frank Meyer of another LA rock band Angus Khan) just singing the word “Devastator” over & over again…as time goes in this nine mintue track, ones given the impression that the record could possible be stuck, and this creates a very strange claustrophobic yet entrancing vibe.
After this we have “Doomsday Mourning” which shifts from mid-paced doomy metal laced with rising prog synth ribs, onto a chugging prime evil 80’s black Sabbath riffing verse, into an slightly unhinged & wavering new wave meets metal chanted chours. Then there's a weird comic villain voice over bit, and a great widdeling guitar solo.
The next four tracks hit between the four to five minute mark, and these once again present what should be clichéd metal craft in slight odd & unhinged light. I wont detail these tracks as it nice to leave some surprise in a record, but there as equally rewarding & slightly odd as the tracks that have gone before. The final track “I am The Light” finds Sam Velde returning once again for a high hat laced stop start moody darting & slightly plody bass lined licked rocker which once again sees him doing a great Glen Danzig impression.
“Out of Darkness” is a metal record made by dyed in the wool metal fans, but it’s a metal record that subtle tries to subvert & weird the form too. This will appeal to old metal heads who know & enjoy all the classic metal moves, but also enjoy the genre been cleverly played with while also been given a air punching tribute too. Roger Batty