Pharaoh, The Powers That Be (Cruz Del Sur Music 2021)

The Powers That Be is the first Pharaoh album in nine years and it is one of the best the band has ever produced.

One of the early purveyors of melodic metal in the power metal scene, Pharaoh began back in the 1990s and has released a string of memorable albums through years, the newest being their fifth, The Powers That Be. The line-up has consistently been Chris Black (drums), Matt Johnsen (guitar), Tim Aymar (vocals), and Chris Kerns (bass).

When the band got together to work on the new record, they faced the same issues every other band ran up against: the global pandemic. They worked around these challenges by recording some parts separately and had to wait until the situation changed enough that the finishing touches could be put on. These external shocks did not deter Pharaoh from creating an album of blazing originality that breaks new ground while holding the line on the band’s founding principles.

There are nine songs on The Powers That Be starting with the high-energy title track. The vocals are melodic with a rasping touch that catches your attention and holds it. The guitar leads are precise and intricate, and the composition itself is stacked with engaging turns and leaps. There are even prog moments sprinkled in to enrich the musical environment.

Most of the music is up-tempo, except for the short, reflective “Waiting To Drown” and a few movements here and there, so you can expect fast-moving metal to keep you rolling from beginning to end. My favorite songs include “Ride Us To Hell” with its raging lead guitar work, and the closer, “I Can Hear Them,” which I see as a showcase for what the band is about. This new Pharaoh album delivers exactly what their fans are looking for. Recommended.

The Powers That Be is out now. Get the digital at Bandcamp and the physicals at the Cruz Del Sur Music store.




Cruz Del Sur Music,

Pharaoh, The Powers That Be (Cruz Del Sur Music 2021)