posted on 5/2008 By:
Pyramids' self-titled effort is described in several different places as "bliss-metal," which means nothing to me. I'd describe it as shoegaze-y ambient post-metal, but whatever, to each his/her own, I suppose. If nothing else, “bliss metal” is more succinct.
From the opener "Sleds," the band establishes a breezy, atmospheric, swirling mix of guitars, synths and distant vocals, like Radiohead mixed with Jesu. Second track "Igloo" introduces martial drumming, almost black-metal, filtered and compressed into a spacey mechanized pounding beneath the layered vocals and the ever present guitars that swell and collapse back into themselves. Everything is drenched in delay and/or warm fuzzy tones.
The remainder of the record expands upon the premises laid out by those two tracks. Pyramids alternates between tracks closer to the beautiful or to the mechanical—exemplary of the former is "The Echo Of Something Lovely," which mines a spaciness akin to early kosmische muzik heavyweights like Popol Vuh. An example of the latter is “End Resolve,” which marries the eerie fuzziness of My Bloody Valentine to a bleak industrialized ethic. “This House Is Like Any Other World” introduces some beautiful classical melodies over the stop-start punch of the drumming and is arguably the finest moment on a record filled with a plethora of interchangeably fine moments.
It's hard to really describe this one too much—it just sort of is what it is, and the combination of shoegaze and industrialized post-metal will either carry you off to some distant land or bore you to tears after two songs. I will say that I was somewhat split: at times, I found that Pyramids had a tendency to slide into the background. But when approached properly, I found it to be an intriguing listen. It was brilliant when I was in the right mood, which was to say, at times when I wanted a great record that I didn’t always have to focus upon directly. Not to second-guess or backpedal, but that last sentence is not to say that Pyramids is a passive listening experience—it’s somewhat insidious, really. It creeps into your brain like a film score, underpinning whatever you’re doing at that moment and ascribing some cinematic quality to your daily routine. For what it is, which is ultimately mood music, it’s very well done, but sadly, by its very nature, it’s not for a closed-minded “dude, let’s just RAWK!” listener. The adventurous and the fans of exceptional free-form post-metal will find much merit within, and the rest will incorrectly think that anyone could do this.
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