After The Fire


Cruz Del Sur Music, 2003

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Iron Maiden, Iron Maiden, Iron Maiden.

Need a shot of it, but don't have Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind handy? I bring good news... Pharaoh formed near Philadelphia in November of 1997.

I have been longing for a release like this: a band that plays homage to the great Iron Maiden, while maintaining their own identity. This band could have easily slipped onto any one of the Iron Maiden tribute CDs that have come my way (Dwell Records' my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 A Call to Irons or Meteor City Records' Slave to the Power come to mind.) Of course, if you are going to enter into the realm that Iron Maiden has immortalized, you have to do the material right.

That means searing vocals that don't go out of tune when holding notes. No problem. That means drums that provide a foundation. No problem. If anything, drummer Chris Black provides a more progressive metal feel to this material. The guitar riffs have to be interesting and the accompanying guitar solos have to expand the song into a new realm. Satisfied that requirement as well.

"Solar Flight" is the best track on this CD. This track has, in its favor, an upbeat tempo, Dickinson-ish vocals, interesting guitar riff, a series of quick snare fills during the guitar solo, and a keen awareness of phrasing the vocals in-between the guitar riff. It easily could have been on an IM release.

Sure, it is nice for the band to have established their own sound. Drummer Chris Black throws in some double-bass, which IM drummer Nicko McBrain does't play. Beyond that, though, this release has hit me at a weak moment: inadvertently, I have realized I have been without an IM fix for months.

The CD concludes with a track called "Slaves." Incidently, this is the first song that guitarist Matt Johnson, drummer Chris Black, and (now-departed) guitarist Keith Barnard wrote. It showcases the sense of style that Pharaoh was able to carry into the other 8 tracks on this release. I like this band - - I think they will go far in the world of metal with the right exposure.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cruz Del Sur Music, and is used for informational purposes only.