Yes folks, it's the return of THE VOICE, the return to metal of Matt Barlow, former, and now current, lead vocalist for Iced Earth. You see, I'd always thought that Barlow would return to the music world, so when I heard he was joining prog-power metallers Pyramaze, I knew it was only a matter of time before Tim Owens made his exit and Matt was asked to come back to Iced Earth. Well, all that happened, but in addition, we get this new release from Pyramaze, a fine slab of melodic heavy metal, Barlow stepping into Lance King's shoes and doing a fine job, his husky vocals adding plenty of power to these ten solid tracks.
Although this is a pretty 'riff-heavy' album (something that should please Iced Earth fans), there's also plenty of guitar and keyboard solos, as well as atmospheric synth colorings, giving Immortal a real proggy feel at times despite the heaviness of the material. Tracks like "Ghost Light" and "Year of the Phoenix" are great crunchy metal numbers, Barlow snarling as if he never left the scene, the guitars of Michael Kammeyer beefy, while the rhythm team of drummer Morten Gade Sorensen & bassist Niels Kvist pummeling yet tight. The glue holding it all together is keyboard player Jonah Weingarten, not stepping too far out in the spotlight but splattering the landscape with plenty of symphonic backdrops and the occasional solo. Barlow is spectacular on the catchy "A Beautiful Death", a real winner of a song, complete with technical drum work and impressive riffs from Kammeyer, and prog fans will love the majestic "Legacy In a Rhyme", Matt's poignant vocals soaring over Weingarten's gorgeous piano and synth washes. Other highlights include the raging power metal stomp of "The Highland" , and the complex arrangements of "Shadow of the Beast", one of the CD's heaviest numbers.
Time will tell whether Barlow will remain with Pyramaze, but for the time being he is committed to both this band and Iced Earth. With Pyramaze, the singer is given a different setting to display his vast vocal talents, and in the process will hopefully open the band up to a host of new fans.
02. Year Of The Phoenix
03. Ghost Light
04. Touched By The Mara
05. A Beautiful Death
06. Legacy In A Rhyme
07. Caramon's Poem
08. The Highland
09. Shadow Of The Beast
10. March Through An Endless Rain