reviews of Ten Years

The Ten Years EP from American power metal titans Pharaoh is being released through Italy's Cruz Del Sur Music, which also released After the Fire (2003), The Longest Night (2006), Be Gone (2008) and last year's Tribute To Coroner 7" split with Canvas Solaris.

The EP contains two unreleased songs from the Be Gone recording sessions, two tracks previously released only as a bonus 7'' and two covers; New Model Army's "White Light" and Slayer's "Tormentor."

Featuring the strong vocal skills of vocalist Tim Aymar (Control Denied), drummer Chris Black (Dawnbringer, Superchrist, High Spirits, ex-Nachtmystium), bassist Chris Kerns, and guitarist Matt Johnsen (Fool's Game, Dawnbringer), Pharaoh continue to prove they should be in the forefront of the U.S. power metal genre.

Pharaoh takes their cue from early American power metal bands such as Omen, Riot and Fates Warning. Their technical ability and songwriting skills have been a bit overlooked within the genre, though. On Ten Years, there's plenty of crunchy riffs, layered melodic guitar leads and catchy vocal harmonies.

Although Ten Years is not new material, the band is currently hard at work on their forthcoming fourth release, tentatively scheduled for a late-year release. If you're just now discovering Pharaoh, and you're a fan of melodic U.S. power metal, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Ten Years is a good start, but then please check out any one of their previous full-length releases. 3.5/5 Kelley Simms

Angry Metal Guy

Pharaoh, for those not in the know, are one of the best of the new retro wave of traditional heavy metal (NRWOTHM™) bands out there. Over the course of three releases these Philly phenoms have consistently blended the 80′s style of Iron Maiden and Saxon with modern American metal like Jag Panzer, Iced Earth while adding a smattering of Slough Feg. The results have been catchy, classy, surprisingly heavy and far more modern sounding than what people normally expect from a "retro" act. Their last opus, 2008′s Be Gone was a great album loaded with excellent yet tasteful guitar wankery and memorable vocal hooks and it left me wanting more. While the interminable wait continues for their next full length, Pharaoh has graced the good people with a six song EP entitled Ten Years. Featuring four tracks left over from the Be Gone sessions and two covers, its clearly a stopgap release but its a solid and entertaining one that continues the Pharaoh quality streak.

What makes Pharaoh such a solid unit is the combination of the stellar, fluid and slick guitar work of Matt Johnsen (who along with drummer Chris Black made the last Dawnbringer album such a huge win), and the excellent vocals of Tim Aymar (Control Denied). Both are on display in spades here. Aymar has a rough edged style that sounds like a raspier version of Bruce Dickinson and he provides a gritty, tough heft to the music. When paired with Johnsen's very distinctive style of fretwork, some memorable moments tend to result. Case in point, the opening title track. Its typically loaded with Johnsen's trademark heavy riffing, guitar squeals, and ripping solo pieces (check the huge solo starting at 2:12). Johnsen is fast becoming my favorite guitar player and the man has a knack for crafting memorable riffs, ear pleasing harmonies, cool nuances and melodic details. As always Aymar's vocals soar over the top and there's a typically big, catchy chorus as well. A great song that deserved inclusion on Be Gone. "When We Fly" keeps things going with another textbook example of the Pharaoh sound and has some great vocals by Aymar. Elsewhere we get covers of the New Model Army song "Whitelight" and Slayer‘s "Tormentor", both are given a complete Pharaoh make over and both sound great. They truly make each song their own and its especially funny hearing an old Slayer song made more melodic and hooky (though the original wasn't all that heavy anyway). The remaining two originals are also well done (especially "Nothing I Can Say") and equally catchy.

Overall, this is a solid release designed to hold us over until their new album hits sometime in the fall. It features all the things that make Pharaoh so enjoyable and addicting and served to get me fired up for a whole platter of new material. Disregard any attempt to label these guys as power metal. This is straight up traditional metal done well and with a loads of conviction. Pharaoh is one of the best bands out there today and I highly recommend checking out their stuff ASAP. I would humbly suggest starting with Be Gone or The Longest Night (and make a point to check out "After the Fire" from their debut because that song rules muchly), although you can't go wrong with any of their material. Support high quality metal! 3.5/5 Steel Druhm


As curious as the cover selections seemed, what I was most looking forward to about Pharaoh's Ten Years anniversary EP was hearing the original songs that were recorded during the Be Gone sessions. Being that this was one of my favorite albums of 2008, and helped reinstate my faith in American power metal after so many years of dwindling returns and all too sparse success stories, I was quite compelled to hear which pieces fell just short of that pedestal of perfection I held it up to, because they must still kick a lot of ass, right? Well, yes and no. I can see why several of these selections were omitted from the full-length, due to simpler structures and less climactic vocal melodies, but even then there is something fresh and functional about them.

In fact, two of these are quite good. "Reflection and the Inevitable Future" is saturated with delicate dual melodies, winding bass lines and striking vocal progressions, and the entire lead sequence at the center of the cut is near divine in that late 80s Fates Warning mold. I also quite enjoyed the opener "Ten Years" itself for much the same reason, though this is a more straight to the face hybrid of melodic power and even some thrashing which recalls bands like Vicious Rumors, and has that same, fulfilling level of complexity in the guitars that was present through much of the full-length. Can't say as much for "Nothing I Can Say": oodles of melodies here, but I felt like the vocals were less memorable and the latter half of the track was much more intense than the former. "When We Fly" was my least favorite of the originals here, though, the rhythm guitars were somewhat bland and, once more, the vocals/chorus just doesn't live up to the quality of their full-length material.

Pharaoh's cover of Coroner's "Tunnel of Pain" from the previous year didn't differ all that much from the original, apart from the obvious vocal difference, but I feel like with Slayer's "Tormentor" they've nearly transformed the violent, dark speed/thrash of the original into a glorious anthem all their own, and it's probably the most fun I had on this entire EP. More pump to the guitars, and Tim focuses on his meatier mid range for the choruses while the melodies lend themselves well to Pharaoh's clinical production values. The cover of "White Light" from British rockers New Model Army is also quite epic, with its emotional chorus escalation and atmosphere, but I surprisingly found it a little closer to what I remember of the original, just with a lot more guitar throughout, though I don't think Aymar's performance here is all that inspiring next to the Justin Sullivan-fronted original. Actually, I thought Sepultura did a better job with their version of "The Hunt" off Chaos A.D., but it's still pretty cool all the same.

In the end, the quality spread across Ten Years is decent enough for a short form release, but this is not a band which has yet disappointed me. The original songs are not up to the incredible standards of Be Gone, so they were justified in collecting them here, and the production at least is comparable. If you love their music, and find it in short supply, then pick this up, especially for the Slayer tune, but first time listeners are better off with any of the four full-lengths. 7/10 autothrall


Originally planned for release more than a year ago, Pharaoh have finally been given the green light from Cruz Del Sur Music to release their fan friendly EP 10 Years, which draws together a collection of both previously released and new tracks that may have otherwise been hard to get a hold of for fans.

The first two songs on offer are the title track "Ten Years" and "When We Fly," both of which are previously unreleased offerings that were laid down during the recording sessions for their last full-length album Be Gone (2008). Given the high standard of Pharaoh's past work, both the new tracks are as every bit classic sounding as you would expect. "Ten Years" is definitely a favourite with its mix of traditional heavy metal and power metal influences on the musical front, with Dawnbringer/Fool's Game guitarist Matt Johnsen impressing to no end with his diverse array of riffs and memorable lead breaks, while Control Denied vocalist Tim Aymar provides enough bite and melody in his approach to give the song a slightly different vibe to what you would otherwise expect from the band. "When We Fly" is fairly traditional Pharaoh fare, and the kind of song that could have easily slotted on Be Gone without sounding out of place.

Next up are "Reflection And the Inevitable Future" and "Nothing I Can Say," both of which were originally released on a seven inch single that accompanied the vinyl release of Be Gone. Again, both tracks could have easily slotted on the band's last full-length release without sounding out of place. But in terms of a stand out, "Nothing I Can Say" is a gem, with Aymar's towering performance a stunning showcase of what he can deliver both in the higher and lower registers of his vocal range.

Finishing up the EP are a couple of covers, which are New Model Army's "White Light" and Slayer's "Tormentor" (from 1983's Show No Mercy). While the band's choice to cover Slayer is understandable (not to mention worthy given their take on the thrash classic is well done), their decision to take on a New Model Army tune is something a little unexpected and different to what you would normally expect. But having said that, the choice was a sound one, with "White Light" turning out to be one of the EP's absolute unexpected gems, and one of the few moments where the band take the opportunity to take their music outside their familiar comfort zone.

Ten Years may not be the follow-up to Be Gone that fans have been anxiously waiting for (Tthat is scheduled to arrive around the end of the year according to the band), this little EP is a great little stop-gap release, and one that fans will find slots perfectly amongst the band's past releases. In other words, this is one highly recommended release. 8.5/10 Justin Donnelly

Hard Rock Haven

Philadelphia-based traditional metal band Pharaoh's eagerly anticipated fourth studio album may still be on the horizon, but the band has served up an "odds and ends" EP to keep fans satisfied in the meantime. The new EP, titled Ten Years, contains four studio songs recorded during the sessions for their previous album Be Gone as well as a pair of interesting cover songs.

The new material on Ten Years is very impressive, and while the songs did not make the final Be Gone album, they're hardly b-side material. The title track in particular is one of Pharaoh's better songs, and the others are great examples of the kind of thrashing yet melodic traditional heavy metal that this band does so well. The band's cover choices are somewhat unexpected. The safe choice would have been to go straight to the classics – Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate. Instead Pharaoh took on post-punk band New Model Army's "White Light" and made a convincing metal anthem out of it, as well as early Slayer thrasher "Tormentor," which really highlights the vocal talents of former Control Denied front-man Tim Aymar. The only thing missing is the band's cover of the Coroner song "Tunnel of Pain" from the split 7" they did with Canvas Solaris. Those of us not into vinyl would have appreciated seeing that song on this disc.

It's not as essential as the average Pharaoh studio album – not that any of Pharaoh's albums can really be called "average" – but Ten Years is sure to please the band's existing fan base. If you're a traditional metal fan but aren't already familiar with Pharaoh, you should absolutely give one of Pharaoh's full-length albums a try before grabbing this EP. Chances are it won't be too long before you loop back around to pick up a copy of Ten Years.Justin Gaines

The Golden Bird

Ten Years is a power metal album with subtle hints of heavy metal influences. It is rather distinguishable as American music due to its harsher vocals and more heavily distorted guitar tones with respect to the general power metal scene. The music is generally guitar riff based and supported with powerful double-bass drums and heavy basslines. And of course, the vocals are quite strong.

Most of what is presented on Ten Years is rather typical, but executed at a higher level. Nothing too new is offered, but there is a fair amount of variety within the power metal genre. There are some hard riffs (such as on "Ten Years") as well as some big, long note rhythms (such as on "White Light"). There is a fair amount of depth in the drumming considering the limitations placed upon them by the genre. Also, the bass gives the odd standout groove, like at the end of "White Light". The vocals, though nothing too technical, are easily identifiable and give a healthy gruff edge to the music. They are well-phrased and fitting with the rest of the band.

In Ten Years, the guitar is the most interesting component. Some of the riffs are only decent, but there are great rhythms and melodies. The acoustic part in "White Light" is beautiful, and both the chorus and intro leads in "Reflection and the Inevitable Future" are marvellous. There are great harmonies throughout and thick layering of guitar tracks. This of course refers to "Nothing I Can Say," which is an extremely guitar-dominant track. Of course, all instruments are very well done, but the guitar is no doubt the primary.

Ten Years is a great release, albeit a little safe. The execution is commendable, but the inventiveness is not exactly outstanding. The EP is at a very high level in a familiar field. Everything is done very well, from the instrumental performance to the general songwriting portion, but also has been done before. Still, it is a highly enjoyable listen and a recommendation to fans of the band or genre. B+

Invisible Oranges

Because Pharaoh is one of my all-time favorite heavy metal bands, I am incapable of providing a unbiased review, just as I am incapable of finding Shannon McIntosh, who is both a racecar driver and absurdly beautiful, anything less than the single most attractive woman in history. I will attempt to be objective when reviewing Ten Years by imagining that it is actually a Hammerfall EP. If somebody asked me to review Ms. McIntosh's driving skills, I would imagine that she looks like Danica Patrick and proceed from there.

If this were a Cannibal Corpse album review, I wouldn't bother stating that there are some kinda-technical Florida death metal riffs with some really good Corpsegrinder vox. That would be patronizing to everybody except for the Attack Attack! fan who stumbled on this site after asking Google ‘what does real heavy metal sound like?' But, because life is unjust in so many ways, most people have either never heard Pharoah's music or have never heard of them at all. I am therefore going to describe in rough terms what the Ten Years EP and any other Pharoah release sound like.

Pharaoh sounds a lot like Brave New World era Iron Maiden. Tim Aymar's vocals are a bit rougher than Bruce Dickinson's. The riffs are just a tad more progressive and a tad more unconventional than Maiden's, but they are drawing from the same framework of melodies and harmonies. The songwriting and riffing is at worst rock-solid and at best, genius. Lyrically, Pharaoh's songs tend to be about more personal topics than Maiden's, although Pharaoh will occasionally drop in a song about fantasy or historical topics.

I have to admit that I've basically failed to be objective about the Ten Years EP. It's Pharaoh, it's awesome, and I think that most metalheads should buy it. The most objective things I can say are that "Ten Years" and "Nothing I Can Say" are good enough that they could have been included on any Pharaoh full-length. "When We Fly" is the most upbeat song Pharaoh has ever recorded, but neither it nor "Reflection and the Inevitable Future" are quite as good as the songs on any Pharaoh full-length. The cover of Slayer's "Tormentor" is interesting because Pharaoh managed to round off all of the original's hard edges and aggression and come up with some interesting vocal melodies in the process. "White Light" is completely brilliant and is the best song on the EP by far.

I should point out that "White Light" is actually a New Model Army song. I spent about 5 minutes conducting extensive research and have now remembered that Sepultura, Anacrusis, and Skyclad have all also covered New Model Army songs. All of those bands have released true heavy metal classics, which means that I can now say with 100% certainty that any metal band that covers New Model Army is awesome and will release at least one classic album. For the three of you there who are both statistics fans and metalheads, I'm fully aware that 4 data points is not a statistically significant sample size, so please don't break your fingers in a nerd-rage while typing an email about how I'm wrong. Also, I haven't ever actually listened to Skyclad, but Sabbat was pretty good and so I'm not going to let those little niggling issues get in the way of my making a grandiose declaration. That's how much I like Pharaoh's music. Richard Street-Jammer

Last Rites

Impatient Pharaoh fans will be forced to wait a little longer for the rightful follow-up to the stellar Be Gone (supposedly due to hit the streets in the Fall), but this cracking EP will make that wait a little easier. I'm not sure why, but the Ten Years EP has been on the shelf for quite awhile, waiting to see the light of day--but now that it's here, it's worth the wait. Offered up are four new tracks from the Be Gone sessions, two of which ("Nothing I Can Say" and "Reflection and the Inevitable Future") appeared with different mixes on the Be Gone vinyl release. Sweetening the pot are covers of Slayer's "Tormentor" and New Model Army's "White Light." The cover choices (or perhaps the fact that there are covers at all) might not seem like a major selling point for some, but it's the way that Pharaoh manages to take two stylistically polar-opposite tunes and present them in a manner that's both incredibly loyal to the original AND unquestionably stamped with the band's own boundary-straddling hook that makes these guys so compelling and important. The raging "Tormentor" is infused with enough complementary guitar melody to sound right at home in the band's arsenal, while the moody alt-rock of "White Light" gathers noticeable heft. These tracks are nestled between the four originals that show the band continuing their path away from more typical Maiden-spawned anthemic traditional metal to a darker and more modern sound.

"Modern' is apt to sound like a dirty word in underground metal, especially when it's connected to a genre the moniker of which alone denotes adhering to an old and somewhat rigid framework. But bands like Pharaoh and Argus play an indispensible role in keeping traditional metal vital and relevant. There are considerable parallels between these two bands—both play traditionally minded Heavy Metal (note the capitalization) in a manner that makes the bands genreless. Argus is neither a doom nor traditional metal band Pharaoh is neither a power nor traditional metal band, but both play proudly traditional metal in a manner that looks forward through adeptly bridging boundaries. Look, I love a first rate galloping Maiden riff as much as the next guy, but Pharaoh, Argus, Slough Feg and the like are the bands making the music that will be talked about years from now.

The highpoints here are "Nothing I Can Say" and the opening title track, both of which churn with a darkened intensity. The material is still highly melodic, of course, but a good deal different from the fist-pumping anthems like "Up the Gates" and "By the Night Sky," or even Be Gone's "No Remains." Tim Aymar sounds fantastic, bending from the emphatic bitterness of "Ten Years" to the gritty, downplayed delivery of "White Light." That said, Matt Johnsen's guitarwork remains central to Pharaoh's charm, through not only the quality of his riffs but his recognizable style of scores of infectious crystalline leads. The rhythm section of bassist Chris Kerns and drummer Chris Black (also of the exceptional Dawnbringer, among others) are top-class as well, not only holding down the low end but providing a good amount of hook. It remains to be seen how Ten Years will fare up against Pharaoh's two last monstrous full-length works. At this point, this collection of what are essentially b-sides seems to stack up fairly well against the material that did make it onto Be Gone. Regardless, Ten Years is a stop-gap release well worth your time and money, and will give you something to devour while waiting for that next record. 8.5/10 Matt Mooring

Metal Crypt

The band Pharaoh seems to enjoy a lot of critical acclaim yet they are somewhat ignored by the general metal community, never seeming to get much press. Their new EP, Ten Years, might not do much to change the status quo consisting, as it does, of two previously unreleased songs from the Be Gone sessions, two from a limited 7" single and two covers, but it is another shining example of what everyone not into this band is missing.

Even though the material on Ten Years was presumably not considered good enough for a past or future album, the quality of the musicians is undeniable. Tim Aymar's vocals are huge and commanding, Matt Johnson's riffs fill all available airspace with furious energy and the rhythm section of Chris Kerns and Chris Black seeks to crush everything in its path. Songs like the title track and the Slayer cover, "Tormentor," explode from the speakers. The band flexes their melodic muscles on the choruses in "Nothing I Can Say" and "White Light," a New Model Army cover. There are no killer tracks yet neither are there any fillers, so the EP, as a whole, falls just short of fantastic, landing firmly in the solid category. To pinch a phrase from Manowar; Heavy Metal, loud as it can be.

Longtime fans would probably tell the uninitiated to start with Be Gone or The Longest Night and who am I to disagree? There are, however, a lot of worse things you could drop some dough on besides Ten Years. If you do, be warned: you'll most likely find yourself shelling out more for the rest of the band's discography, as Ten Years is only a taste of what Pharaoh can do.MetalMike

Metal Kaoz

With three albums in their arsenal, and 3 years after their last release "Be Gone", the American Power Metal band PHARAOH return with their new EP, "Ten Years" to celebrate the ten years of existence. As it has been already foretold, since October of 2008, the EP includes two unreleased songs from the "Be Gone" sessions, two songs that were released in the bonus 7" vinyl and two covers: SLAYER's "Tormentor" and NEW MODEL ARMY's "White Light".

The EP begins with the two new tracks; "Ten Years" and "When We Fly". Both of them are strong, heavy and fast and reminded me of VIRGIN STEELE, not only musically, but also because the voice of Tim Aymar (ex-CONTROL DENIED, TRIPLE X, PSYCHO DREAM) resembles that of David DeFeis. "Reflection And The Inevitable Future" and "Nothing I Can Say" are the tracks from the 7" vinyl: the first is a fast, solid one, much like the two first songs of the EP, while the latter one is more mid-tempo but heavy nonetheless. "Tormentor" and "White Light" are two very nice covers: while the band remains faithful to the original songs they add a personal touch and to incorporate them in their musical style.

I'd say that, although the EP is a strong and solid release, "Ten Years" is mainly addressed to the band's hardcore fans, not having anything new to offer. It's mostly a filler album until the release of the band's forth studio album around October. Nevertheless, "Ten Years" is good and it won't let down anyone that will get it. 8/10

Metal Odyssey

PHARAOH: TEN YEARS EP – American Power Metal is well represented when a band such as Pharoah exists. Seriously. The six songs on the Ten Years EP are a strong representation of just how excellent the musicianship of Pharaoh is. Metal truth be told, I wish this was a 12 song album, Pharaoh hammers out their one-of-a-kind Metal sound that well. This is a durable band with mighty Metal experience (see band lineup below) and this experience comes through remarkably well on each song.

The Classic Heavy Metal feel and vibes are unmistakable as I listen to Ten Years. Pharaoh plays their American-made Power Metal with relevant muscularity, with melodic moments flourishing throughout their sound. One Metal constant about Pharaoh is their ability to sound raw and tough, with an old school sensibility. It's this raw toughness in the Metal mix that adds to Pharaoh's mystique, for me.

Ten Years will be released on June 7th, 2011, on Cruz Del Sur. This EP contains two unreleased songs from the Be Gone (2008) recording sessions, two tracks previously released only as a bonus 7" and two cover songs: Slayer's Tormentor and New Model Army's White Light. Ten Years sets the Metal stage for the forthcoming and fourth studio album from Pharaoh, which is scheduled for release later in 2011.

Pharaoh does a standup job at covering Slayer's Tormentor, with no slippage on the speed factor on both guitar and the rhythm section. Tim Aymar may not be Tom Araya on vocals, still he embellishes this song with the necessary searing notes, leathery vocals and pissed-off attitude. Tim Aymar can hit the high notes with ease as well as delivering gritty, old school tones. A great example of just how diverse Tim's vocals are is the title track Ten Years. This song is a Metal showcase for Tim's vocals, there's no doubt to my ears about that.

The thick and melodic sounds of Matt Johnsen's guitar are totally enjoyable. Matt's flirtation's and nod's to Classic Speed Metal are apparent and very welcomed to my Metal lovin' ears. Matt Johnsen has his own signature tone happening on guitar and perhaps should be looked upon as one of Metal's best kept secrets.

Pharaoh has always been a dynamite Power Metal band, it's time for scores of Metal fans out there to realize just how excellent a band they truly are. I highly recommend all of Pharaoh's works from the past and this Ten Years EP. Pharaoh was formed back in 1997 and there hasn't been a better time than now to be catching onto their sound. Classic Heavy Metal and American Power Metal lives… and Pharaoh carries these two sub-genre's torches with Metal pride.Stone

Teeth of the Divine

As fans await the follow-up to 2008's Be Gone, Pharaoh offers them a little teaser with this six-song EP featuring two new tracks, two rare tracks and a couple of covers. It's not the four-course meal we may have wanted, but it's a nice little appetizer.

The new tracks are the title track, "Ten Years," and "When We Fly." Of the two, I prefer the title track, which is more of a straightforward traditional metal song with a chugging power riff from Matt Johnsen and some great, aggressive vocals from Tim Aymar. "When We Fly" is a great track in its own right, though, leaning more toward the power metal side of the band's spectrum. It's a bit more complex than "Ten Years," with Aymar soaring a little more and an occasional heavier break showcasing Johnsen and drummer Chris Black. Hell, on second thought, I'm not sure I prefer either of the new tracks over the other. They're both awesome.

Next up is the first of two covers, New Model Army's "White Light." This one, obviously, is a little different from the usual Pharaoh fare. It's a little more subtle, using some synths and allowing Aymar to show a really different side of his voice. Johnsen lays down some smooth leads, and bassist Chris Kerns gets to show off here and there. It's a bit of a surprise, but a good one.

Next up are the two previously released tunes, both of which are from a single that came with the vinyl release of Be Gone. "Reflection and the Inevitable Future" is the stronger of the two, a heavier number with some sharp riffing from Johnsen. "Nothing I Can Say" gives Kerns another chance to shine early on, but it's Aymar's song as he moans, wails and screams his way through the progressive-tinged tune.

Finally, the EP is closed out in ass-kicking fashion with a pretty straight cover of Slayer's "Tormenter." Some of Johnsen's guitar sounds perhaps give the more noodly riffs a bit more of an Iron Maiden feel than the original, and Aymar obviously has a wider range than Tom Araya, which he puts to use, though not too much.

All in all, Ten Years is a tasty little treat that will surely whet fans' appetites for the band's next full-length effort.Fred Phillips

Thoughts of Metal

PHARAOH, the US Power Metal band featuring ex-CONTROL DENIED singer Tim Aymar, first came to my attention in 2008, at the time of the release of their third album"Be Gone", following "After The Fire" (2003) and "The Longest Night" (2006). See my review here. As it is known, the band was formed in 1997 and while awaiting the fourth full-length the band decided to celebrate their first 10 years in the form of an EP called… "Ten Years", and this on the 7th June. This contains six tracks: two new songs from the "Be Gone" recording session, two songs previously released only as a bonus 7" and two cover songs (NEW MODEL ARMY's "White Light" and SLAYER's"Tormentor"). As you thus can expect, this release is aimed at the fans in particular.

The EP starts with the title track, which takes off instantly with pounding melodic Power Metal. This flows over neatly into the straight-forward verses where Tim's powerful singing cannot be ignored. This is good stuff, on all levels. The chorus is catchy and the music also comes pounding out of the speakers. The melodic aspect comes out very well. Before the calm break and the return of power afterwards, there's a solo (and a good one!). But there's solo stuff near the end as well. All in all, great stuff to begin with. "When We Fly" has a building intro, albeit a short one, and then all hell breaks loose. This is again straight-forward power Metal with an epic touch. The solos are of course mandatory. This song as well, flawless.

Which brings us the first cover, "White Light", originally by NEW MODEL ARMY. I have never heard of this band or this song, so I briefly checked on YouTube and even if it's not Metal, PHARAOH gave it a light Metal injection. This Rock song is very well executed and Tim's singing is nicely adjusted to the lack of aggressive riffs and thundering drums. "Reflection And The Inevitable Future" is a midtempo rocker of a song with the production sounding a little different from the first two songs. Melody is important in the chorus, where you'll find hymnic singing, too. The musicianship in general is of course very solid. "Nothing I Can Say" then is another midtempo rocker where the melodic aspect is much higher, and yet the music seems to have a Doomy character. Things get more powerful and driven in the chorus. And again I have to hail Tim's vocal input. He's truly an exceptional vocalist. Room for solos was also taken into account. The EP ends with the SLAYER cover "Tormentor". Compared to the original, PHARAOH did a very good job here as well. Back then SLAYER didn't sound as Thrashy yet, so neither does PHARAOH.

"Be Gone" was a very pleasant album, even if it took several listens to fully appreciate the songs, since there was always something else to check out (vocally and instrumentally). I liked it a lot. Since no real news came from the band since then, the EP comes as a surprise, but a positive one, as you get two unreleased songs from the last album recording session, two songs that were released elsewhere (not on the albums) and two covers, which show that PHARAOH can go relatively broad. In short,"Ten Years" is, in my humble opinion, a must for those who like what these guys play. If you're unfamiliar with PHARAOH, go for the albums (first). Other than that, the appetite for the fourth album has been ignited. 4/5

We Love Metal

Pharaoh is billed as American power metal, but I tend to put them more in the traditional/NWOBHM bracket. Whatever you want to call them, the bare bones of the situation is the guys can bring the metal in a way that has been missing for about a decade. Having formed in 1997 they have become very well known for their metal that is rooted in the past, but adding a very technical flair to the instrumentals that shows the numerous abilities of the band.

Their official website gives you the picture of a band that has looked to the past and decided this music should continue to be made and adored by the fans that created metal. If Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio and others are timeless why are we not continuing to make the music we all enjoy and grew up on? Bands like Twisted Tower Dire take this same philosophy so it appears we have a resurgence of sorts and the fans appear to finally get "it." Pharaoh brings the past to life with their new EP "Ten Years" and I'm certainly glad we were able to get our hands on a copy.

The EP consists of 6 tracks of varying timelines in the bands career. 2 tracks are left over from the recording session of the critically acclaimed "Be Gone." 2 other tracks were only released on a bonus 7" that many fans have not been able to get their hands on, and we have two covers: New Model Army's – "White Light" and Slayer's "Tormentor."

The opening title track "Ten Years" displays the classic traditional sound right off the bat, but Pharaoh is very good at keeping the tracks relevant to the modern with layered guitars that create amazing depth in their work. Near the middle of the song we are treated to the first of many solos on the album. This guitar work isn't the wash away solo work of some glam bands, it's hard hitting and cohesive to the song.

"When We Fly" is extremely Maiden like. The vocals are very strong and show some excellent range, but the song is stolen once again by the guitar work and some incredible drumming that shows the power a drummer has over steering the ship. Great song to get you energized.

The cover of "New Model Army's White Light" starts at a much slower pace and different vocal pattern than the two previous songs. The song is different than the original, but the band does a great rendition of it and put their own stamp on it. I can easily picture this song live.

"Reflection and the Inevitable Future" is one of those epic tracks that take you on a journey. A great song to sit back and rock along to while you are taken to land where metal dominates. The pacing is slower than most of the album and this different side of Pharaoh made me realize how talented they are.

A massive vocal range dominates "Nothing I Can Say." The song displays some solid harmonies and is a really good song for the entire band to jam along to and show their skill. Each member has a chance to show off and then blend everything together to make a true metal song.

For the cover of "Slayer's Tormentor" just think of Slayer, but slower. Pharaoh does a great job of capturing the evil and displaying their technical talent at a lesser speed. Many fans will enjoy this version with the reduction in pace.

Overall this EP was an experience in the roots of metal. Pharaoh has incredible depth in the band and displays all members' strengths on numerous songs. The band and sound is much bigger than any individual. "Ten Years" with its big vocals and monumental guitar solos shows that the future of metal appears to belong in the past. 8.5/10 Martell