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Pyramids on Mars

Edge of the Black

Review by Gary Hill

I've gone back and forth on whether this should go under prog or metal. It clearly has elements of both. Ultimately, I decided that while no songs are purely metal, there is at least one song that is purely progressive rock. That said, you might think it should go under the other heading. This is instrumental music with a real emphasis on the type of sounds done by the shredding guitar hero types. This "band" is actually just one guy, Kevin Estrella.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Blood Moon
Spacey sounds bring this into being. A metallic jam emerges from there to drive it forward. This is a real powerhouse that combines an almost Iron Maiden vibe with some proggy concepts.
Nacht Waffen
As metallic as the opener was, this leaves that in the dust on the hard-edged parts. They are meaty and chunky. Yet, those are tempered by mellower, trippy sounds that have a real prog angle to them. Those mellow sections definitely trend toward spacey, while the more rocking stuff gets almost thrash-metal in approach.
Song of Light
This is a screaming hot powerhouse that calls to mind guitar gods like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
F-22 Raptor

With the sound of a jet at the beginning and again later (there had to be, right?), this fires out with frantic metal stylings that really scream. This tune is almost all metal, but still has that guitar hero kind of thing at play. It really shreds.

The Ambassador
Another that starts quite metallic and remains in that zone, this is a particularly potent number. There is a lot of energy and some great crunch on this thing. It's another classy cut on a disc that's full of them.
Mercury Magnetar
A bit more straightforward, the metal sounds drive this thing in style. There are some hints of Rush in the mix.
Arcturian Rain
This number is very much metal, but there are some proggy elements built into it. It's one of the more mainstream pieces here.
Time to Believe
Another that has a lot of pure metal in the mix, this is another that's quite mainstream. It's a bit on the raw side, too. I can make out sort of a NWOBHM meets guitar hero element to this number. 
Arioso Lullaby
Now, this one lands firmly on the prog end of the equation, particularly early. It is a gentle and intricate piece with a lot of classical music built into it. The guitar rises up to bring a classy metallic edge later, but it never really overpowers the prog elements..
Whale Song
Metallic elements and ambience both merge here. There is a slow moving, drone-like quality to it at times, calling to mind shoegaze just a bit.
 
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