Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pyramids - Pyramids

Sometimes labels get really bogged down with trying to stay true to their niche. They focus too much on what the stuff they put out should sound like. Hydra Head, for example, releases stuff like Isis, Jesu, Pelican, Torche, Botch, you get the idea. Not that there's anything wrong with them. I own a ton of records released on Hydra Head and I love them all. It's just that sometimes they can somewhat easily be lumped together under the "genre" called Hydra Head. But occasionally the folks that run the label will listen to their hearts and say to themselves, "NO! Uniformity be damned, we need to release this because it kicks so much ass." Such is the case with Pyramids.

Here's a general layout of the Pyramids record. Track 1, ambient. Track 2, metal. Track 3, ambient. And I'm not talking the kind of ambience found on some black metal albums, all dark and scary with creepy moaning. No, I'm talking shimmering high end stuff that could be found on a Hammock or Windy & Carl album. Track 4, back to the metal. Pummeling drums, crooning faded vocals ala Bradford Cox, and guitars that smear all over each other. It's at the same time unsettling and beautiful. It's like the soundtrack to a horror movie made by both angels and demons. Sometimes the angels are winning and others the demons, but for the most part they're neck in neck, neither beating out the other, creating gorgeous ambient metal. And that's what it's like from there on out. The rest of the album ditches the mellow first and third tracks and mixes it in with the metal for some truly weird music.

And as if the one CD wasn't enough, the album comes with an additional disc full of remixes by Jesu, Birchville Cat Motel, a couple from James Plotkin (who helped make the record), and a few others. And by far one of the coolest parts of this album is the cover art. Holy shit that is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Seriously, it's genius and awesome. This record is worth buying just to hang on your wall.

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