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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Alan Parsons

Pyramid

Review by Gary Hill

This 1978 disc has a bit of a bad reputation. I’ve seen it ripped apart as being overly pop oriented. Frankly, other than the track “Pyramania” I just don’t see it. Mind you, this isn’t as intellectually challenging as Tales of Mystery and Imagination or I, Robot, but it still holds up quite well. If you wrote this one off years ago, try blowing the dust off of it and giving it another chance. You might find out that it’s really quite a strong disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Voyager
Dramatic guitar tones lead off this introductory instrumental. The song gradually builds up from there into a great starting number that has all of the drama and majesty that Alan Parsons is known for creating. It moves through a few different modes and moods in its brief course and segues straight into the next piece of music.
What Goes Up
Coming out of the previous number this one has a classic Alan Parsons texture to it. It’s a rather balladish number with lots of prog beauty.
The Eagle Will Rise Again
One of my favorite pieces on this disc, a dramatic guitar ballad sound leads this one off and the vocals eventually come in over the top of this in a moody Parsons mode. They build it up later with more layers and sounds, but still the emotional nature of the piece is both beautiful and enchanting.
One More River
Here we get a jazzy sort of stomping rocker that is another that comes across as trademark Alan Parsons Project. This is another highlight of this great album. Both the vocal and instrumental performances on this one purely smokes.
Can't Take It With You
Another that begins with a dramatic mysterious tone, this one builds up gradually for a short time before bursting out into the song proper, another bouncy one. There is some decidedly Pink Floyd like guitar work that shows up on this number.
In The Lap of Gods
Ambient weirdness starts this off and it moves along very slowly until it bursts into a segment that is both dramatic and very Egyptian in texture. This segment only holds the cut for a time, though, giving way to a more traditional Alan Parsons sort of jam that feels like it could have been at home on I Robot or Tales of Mystery… Still, the Egyptian textures do come back over this arrangement as it carries onward. This is the most theatrical and inspired production ion the disc and this instrumental is another of the highpoints of the disc.
Pyramania
This one has a rather silly, pop-rock texture, feeling a bit like Supertramp at times. All that said, it’s still a decent song, but definitely doesn’t stand up to the rest of the material here. It’s also one point on the album that lives up to some of the negative reviews this one got.
Hyper Gamma Spaces
This one shares some melodic textures with the song “The Raven” from Tales of Mystery…This instrumental is definitely another highlight of the disc.
Shadow of a Lonely Man
Alan Parsons always had a way with the melancholy balladic number. This one is more proof of that. Mind you, it does wander towards being a bit over the top at times, but still it’s a strong piece and a great closer.
 
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