Written By: Hayley Mierzwa
I don’t often listen to metal music, but when I do, it’s symphonic. Pyramaze is a Danish power metal band, and their latest record, Contingent, is heavily influenced by current events. The epic album delves into struggle, internal and external, over individualism and society. The lyrics are strong statements about these topics, and they are accompanied by a plethora of well-composed sound bites.
We dive in right away with a majestic, almost medieval sounding album intro, “Land of Information,” which features catchy guitar riffs, a nice breakdown, and double bass pedal galore. Following this clearly-power-metal opener is a symphonic headbanger, “Kingdom of Solace.” Strings, brass, and orchestral chimes accompany lyrics about capitalism and isolationist society. Toward the end, the string and chimes are a twinkly background under the lyrics, “having a ball with the stars.” Spot-on imagery.
An interesting twist in this record was the number of piano intros – “Star Men,” “A World Divided,” “Heir Apparent,” and “The Tides That Won’t Change,” all offer unique, classical-sounding intros. And then there is no ignoring the two instrumental tracks on the album, “Contingent – Part I: The Campaign,” and “Contingent – Part II: The Hammer of Remnant.” The former is a pleasing instrumental featuring war drums, appropriate for a “campaign,” or conquest. The latter has a similar sound, minus the war drums and plus some mystery and soaring, angelic vocals. The second to last track, “The Tides That Won’t Change,” offer extremely nice female vocals for the first half, later complemented by the equally wonderful male vocals that lead the rest of the album, all over piano and strings. We wrap things up with, “Symphony of Tears,” another double-bass-pedal-heavy, metal guitar piece.
These 13 songs explore a lot of emotion, especially surrounding a capitalistic society. Some notable lyrics:
- “At least we keep trying to become / Citizens of the stars / Earth will be but memoirs we treasure / If we get there / In time” – Star Men
- “There’s a longing to get out / But it’s forbidden to say it out loud / Someone’s watching every move we make” – A World Divided
- “The 20 second century! / A medieval tyranny / Is watching and dictating / All we survey” – 20 Second Century
- “Attention! / The race for growth will end it all” – Obsession
- “Hey, what’s my name? / Am I an illusion?” – Under Restraint
- “Can you help me figure out myself? / Disillusioned by the fact / I may never get that far” – Symphony of Tears
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this record. It explores capitalist society, mental illness (not explicitly stated, but implied), and restraint on freedom and individuality. On top of that, the music itself is always interesting, and provokes vivid images, perhaps of realities we don’t want (but need) to see. Symphonic metal is a serious treat – pile on killer vocals and you’ve got a masterpiece on your hands and in your ears.