I’m going to say on record, here and now, that I will never give a perfect score. That score should be reserved for one album and one album only and it had better not only be perfect front to back, but it better be life-changing. Not to say that I’m criticizing my fellow reviewers who have historically awarded perfect scores (far be it from me to tell them how to review a CD seeing as how the difference in styles is what makes "The Metal Observer" such a comprehensive site) but on a strictly personal basis, I have not heard an album that is a full 10/10. That being said, it took a lot of will power and some deep thought to avoid giving PYRAMAZE’S “Legend Of The Bone Carver” such a score.
It is a little surprising I’m sure to most of you as this CD rarely makes it on to a top 10 list never mind to be someone’s favourite album... hell the band itself flies under the radar pretty rigidly as is. Truly though, from my perspective, I struggle very hard to find any errors with it. There isn’t a single weak moment on the album and everything runs so smoothly and so perfectly that each note feels like a breath and each beat like a heartbeat. It’s beautiful, majestic poetry that comes to life in the form of music, transcending art between the two mediums into one singularity.
The album tells the story of a young man born of strange circumstances who grows to realize that he is the only one who can reunite the primordial balance of good and evil in a land of turmoil and chaos. The plot is purposely borrowed from the biblical life of Jesus Christ and is transcribed into a fantasy tale that, much like a CS Lewis novel, never comes off as preachy and is both thought-provoking and intriguing from start to finish. I am by no means a religious man, but PYRAMAZE’S vocalist Lance King is and it is a relief that he can utilize his faith in a mature and accessible fashion without once alienating the listener.
The album’s design is very much in a storybook manner in which all songs are distinct with a unique series of events and an overarching theme and musical tone that always keeps the listener in the correct mood and never distracts them from the album’s lyrical purpose. To keep with the epic, story-like design, there is even a flow to the album that begins with characterization and scene-preparation and a sequence of songs that constantly builds and prepares for the climactic finale, “Tears Of Hate”. Periodic narrations, especially on “Blood Red Skies”, and acted voices dot the album and add variety to the sung moments of the disc. Truly this is an album built around lyrics rather than the other way around.
The music is of course what truly matters here and it is spot on. Symphonic arrangements and progressive-minded keys, tempos and signatures add plenty of depth and atmosphere to what is already a dense album. The guitars play varying Power Metal-esque leads and riffs that often change drastically across whole songs. The drums are especially nimble as they can play speedy double-bass attacks, technical gallops and sparse ambience with virile dexterity. Of course the true power on the tracks comes from the much-underrated and extremely hardworking Lance King whose voice once again shines and carries much passion and heart despite the relatively high range he typically sings in. It fits and that is what’s most important.
It’s hard to really comment on the songs themselves as “Legend Of The Bone Carver” should be properly regarded as a full song in itself. In other words, it is far greater than the sum of its parts. There is no cherry-picking for fave songs on this one as it is always a 45 minute journey. Atmospheric, passionate, muscular, well-told and above all, lyrically self-contained with a distinct message and clear vocal delivery; what we have here my friends is a flawless concept album.
For Fans of: AVIAN, BALANCE OF POWER, MANTICORA
(Online August 7, 2009)