The world needs real rock ‘n’ roll more than ever. Have you listened to the radio lately? Go on then, have a listen to some of the limp-wristed, candy-assed, sub-Nickelback horseshit that passes for mainstream rock music lately and you’ll hear what I’m talking about, a bunch of preening jackasses who look like they stepped out of the pages of the Abercrombie & Fuckface catalogue, playing songs about having sex with sluts, drinking, doing drugs and having sex with more sluts. And I don’t mean that in a filthy/sleazy/awesome Venom or Motorhead way either. I mean it in a soulless, sac-less, nauseating, pristinely produced and utterly contrived faux-grunge frat-rock way, replete with vocals that sound like a cross between Eddie Vedder and a goat with a cob up its ass. Yes folks, we need real rock ‘n’ roll more than ever.
Fortunately, the good stuff, the proverbial real deal, still exists here in the underground and Northampton, Massachusetts’ Black Pyramid are a damn fine example of what I’m talking about. Damn fine and then some, actually. Sure, they might get lumped in with the stoner/doom metal crowd, but to these ears their sophomore album, the appropriately titled II, is a down ‘n’ dirty rock record with riffs for miles and an overall sound that’s best described as classic; the kind of band designed to stomp mud-holes in wimpy modern radio rock bands’ asses and walk ’em dry.
Don’t get me, wrong, Black Pyramid are heavy metal through and through, but their riffs and rhythms possess a swaggering stomp that can only come from rock ‘n’ roll. You can always tell the rock-influenced metal bands from the metal-influenced metal bands, because metal-influenced metal bands don’t have the first clue about how to make their music swing. If your riffs can’t at the very least elicit a head nod, get the fuck out of my office. Black Pyramid’s riffage elicits more than a nod because they’re all about the swing; they’re also about headbanging and fist/beer-raising, things I’m known to hold in high esteem. Songs like thunderous opener “Endless Agony” and the slow-burning “Dreams of the Dead” are so goddamn electric, one can’t help but react in a physical way.
Andy Beresky’s six-string slinging is pure molten magma, a slow to mid-paced barrage of fuzzy, Sabbath-ian power chords and NWOBHM-style leads arranged for a solitary guitar. On the whole though, I find myself getting an early Manilla Road vibe (think Crystal Logic) from these dudes, although Beresky’s gruff vocals are often more akin to a cross between Lemmy and Matt Pike in all their whiskey and cigarette-scorched glory. It’s an amalgamation of influences that works well; a scrappy, blue collar musical foundation for epic, blood-soaked tales of pillage and plunder.
On II, Black Pyramid sound like a band on the verge of big things. Trouble is, Beresky left the band after the album was completed, leaving drummer Clay Neely and bassist Gein with the considerable task of recruiting a replacement frontman. How the band will fair as a result of this lineup shift has yet to be seen, but one thing is a for sure, they’ve got one hell of an album on their hands; the perfect cure for anyone who’s had it up to here with the foul-tasting anti-rock ipecac that gets shoved down our throats every time we turn on the radio.