Pharaoh Overlord - "#1"
(Ektro Records 2001, ektro-010CD)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Here's something new for Circle fans. Jussi Lehtisalo decided he needed to explore an interest in Stoner rock and the result is the throbbing, mind melting, metallic, stoned psychedelia that is Pharaoh Overlord. Circle aficionados will recognize that band's trademark repetitive patterns, but the Overlord features some totally cosmic freakout sounds. The bass lays down a plodding Stoner rhythmic pattern, though there's nothing overly sludgy in Pharaoh Overlord's music. But the guitar... oh man, this is some seriously cosmic shit!!! "Slow City" opens the set and for 10 minutes eases the listener into a jamming psychedelic groove. "Mangrove" cranks up the aggression level a bit with heart pounding chords and crunchy psych-metal riffs. "Transatlantic" is a highlight that in terms of the rhythm section reminds me the most of Circle, but the guitar takes off into a gorgeous pulsating acidic exploration that will feed your head and carry you away on a cloud. But just when you're really relaxed and well focused on your mantra, the crunchy riffs kick in and start to knead your brain like the dough that it's by now surely become. "Alcohol (Blue Flame)" and "Landslide Non Stop" are the most overtly roll-a-tank-across-yer-chest Stoner metal tunes on the disc. The bass will drag you through a thick swamp of oozing sludge while the guitar plays the most bubbling wah-wah heaven acid rock I've heard yet this year. Kosmiche brain slam!!!
There are 6 tracks on the CD, all in the 7-10 minute range, so the band really stretches out and explores the psycho metallic trip realms. There's nothing particularly complex or sophisticated here. Just a kick ass set of spaced out psychedelic Stoner metal that fans of the heavy stuff will absolutely drool over.
For more information you can visit the Ektro Records web site at: http://www.ektrorecords.com.
There you'll find full length song samples in Mp3 and RealAudio formats of Pharoah Overlord, Circle, Ektroverde, and other Ektro Records releases.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz