Pharaoh Overlord - #3 [Riot Season - 2005]Few acts of today love repetition as much as Pharaoh Overlord. It’s like the band had been brought together to form a new cult to the God “Moreiwantmoreofthesameriff” (Mesopotamian divinity).
People I like already know Circle, at least by name. These lads have been the best finnish band for the last ten years, playing their own brand of very peculiar kraut / psyche / prog / folk rock. Well, the guys of Pharaoh Overlord are all members of Circle, so you should know in what category they fall (the one tagged “unique”).
PO has already three studio albums to his name, as well as a live recording. The first two albums were stunning pieces of music, heavy and monolithic, Tsurubami without feedback and with less free jazzy bits, or Acid Mothers Temple without the weird instruments and the insane solos.
#3, released on Britain’s Riot Season (a great label releasing few cd’s, all essentials), is a bit of a change. Not radical, but still. For a start, it’s almost never heavy in the traditional Sabbath sense. Most of it sounds like Circle’s Guillotine "rockier" parts without the otherworldish vocals and the keys.
Other than above’s obvious comparison, it’s interesting to notice that here and there creep in moments strongly reminding me of Robert Fripp on King Crimson’s latest albums (first half of Blackout for instance). Of course I’m also bound to mention krautrock, especially Ash Ra Tempel.
Beyond all the references, all the things you hear and you know “from some other record” in their music, one thing remains true: Pharaoh Overlord is band of sound alchemists. Perhaps not as good as when they are Circle, but still. Seldom have I heard something as stubbornly repetitive yet varied, something so fascinating and hypnotic.
Extra kudos for Journey, the last track, which makes of this record a beautiful one, on top of all the other good things already written about it.François Monti