Fans of Pharaoh will be pleased. Their third album is very good. Various listeners have stated that Pharaoh moved somewhat away from Iron Maiden'isms, and have included more modern aspects into the songs. While it's true that this has occurred to an extent, there is no hint here that the band is trying to sound like a modern power metal band.
Be Gone is this listener's favorite album by Pharaoh. It has the most interesting riffs, melodies, and solos of their three albums. There are few albums that have been released in the last five years that have the compositional strength that this album has. Matt Johnsen's sense of melody and creativity leads to unique and powerful songs which contain some of the best riffs I've heard in years. Further, his solos always fit the songs and they are not scale climbers, another seemingly, and disappointingly, rarity as of late among traditional and power metal bands. The guitar work ensures that the songs are always interesting to listen to.
Tim Aymar is one of the best vocalists in metal. He has a grit and power to his voice that drives these songs along and keeps you listening to his every word. Chris Black continues to lay down great drum work. If people asked me what good drums sound like, I'd point to this album. Beyond just what he plays, it's also how the drums sound. The drum sound is full, unlike drums on too many albums lately that have no depth to their sound, as if they are played on a $200 drum kit. The overall production of the album is excellent and Matt Crooks deserves recognition for it. Its one of the best sounding albums I've listened to this year.
One area the band might improve on is that some songs are not immediately memorable. Every time I listen to them I enjoy them, but they aren't necessarily stuck in my head afterwards. However, "Buried at Sea" is very catchy and is my favorite song on the album. Also, Tim almost sounds too comfortable at this stage of his career. Despite him being one of my favorite singers, I'd like to hear him push himself more and write more varied vocal melodies.
Be Gone is not an album that will collect dust any time soon, and will likely be high on my top 10 list at the end of the year. This album is a must buy for anybody who enjoys heavy metal.
01. Speak To Me
02. Dark New Life
03. No Remains
04. Red Honor
05. Buried At Sea
06. Rats And Rope
07. Cover Your Eyes And Pray
09. Be Gone