If a style of music goes out of fashion, chances are that someone will revisit it at some point -- and in Pharoah's case, that means revisiting classic fantasy metal. Pharoah wasn't formed until 1997, but if you didn't know better, you would swear that this 2003 release was recorded in the '70s or '80s -- their sound is an unapologetic throwback to fantasy metal artists like Iron Maiden, Ronnie James Dio, Judas Priest, Grim Reaper, and Queensrÿche. That type of metal went out of vogue after the '80s; most of the headbangers who came along during the Bill Clinton years favored what is loosely defined as alternative metal (a term that has been applied to everyone from Alabama Thunder Pussy to Limp Bizkit to Nothingface). But After the Fire offers no acknowledgment of post-'80s metal trends, and Pharoah doesn't incorporate punk, industrial, or hip-hop (three things that have greatly influenced alterna-metal). Again, this East Coast band is retro all the way, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're a die-hard fan of '70s and '80s fantasy metal. Forceful yet melodic tracks like "Flash of the Dark" and "Never, Not Again" aren't the least bit groundbreaking -- in fact, they sound quite dated. But dated can actually be a good thing if one holds a particular era in high regard; Pharoah obviously worships metal's pre-'80s era, and they're good at what they do. After the Fire falls short of exceptional, but it's a generally decent (if derivative) effort that will appeal to the type of headbangers who still can't get enough of Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime and Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast.
|Label:||Cruz Del Sur Music|