PHARAOH returns with their first album in nine years, The Powers That Be! The album will be released June 18th on Cruz Del Sur Music. Check out the trailer video for the new album below.
Long-running American metallers PHARAOH emerge with The Powers That Be, a nine-song offering of challenging melodic metal featuring a guest solo from VOIVOD’s Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain!
Nearly 25 years ago, drummer Chris Black (High Spirits) conceived PHARAOH at a party while listening to SAXON. Shortly thereafter, he emailed one his fellow metal ‘zine writers, Matt Johnsen, selling him on the idea. At the time, Black was focused on Dawnbringer; Johnsen was simply excited to be part of an exciting new project. The object was to create a melodic metal band — a certifiably “un-hip” thing circa the late 1990s — that tapped into their deep well of influences. Once Black and Johnsen landed the services of up-and-coming singer Tim Aymar (Control Denied, Psycho Scream) and bassist Chris Kerns, PHARAOH’s permanent lineup was born, embarking on a journey that has produced now five studio albums of unmistakable class and quality, the latest being The Powers That Be.
The Powers That Be is PHARAOH’s most diverse and adventurous effort to date, charting a new, progressive path while maintaining the band’s stylistic traits. Those traits, like they always have, rest heavily upon the spider-web riffing of Johnsen, the air-tight rhythm section of Black and Kerns, and Aymar, whose range and growling rasp continue to make him one of metal’s most identifiable singers.
The Powers That Be also includes a guest guitar solo from longtime collaborator Jim Dofka (Dofka) on “Ride Us to Hell”, as well as a new face, VOIVOD’s Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain. Mongrain was a last-minute addition to the album — due to various scheduling conflicts, PHARAOH was approaching the eleventh hour to land a second guest soloist since the album was already tracked. But, once the band made contact with Mongrain, the Canadian guitarist delivered a stunning solo in less than a week for the album’s title track.
The album’s lyrics were written during one of America’s most tumultuous periods in recent memory. The pandemic, coupled with a volatile political situation served as fodder for PHARAOH, who has been tackling matters of politics since 2006’s The Longest Night. Far from preachy, the lyrics on The Powers That Be are thoughtful and carry enough depth to where listeners can determine their own meaning. It correlates to the album title — The Powers That Be represents the forces that stifle creativity and decency, from the plague of white supremacy to the ravening predation of capitalism.
The Powers That Be Track Listing:
1. The Powers That Be
2. Will We Rise
3. Waiting to Drown
4. Lost in the Waves
5. Ride Us to Hell
6. When the World Was Mine
8. Dying Sun
9. I Can Hear Them