Pyramids With Nadja – Pyramids With Nadja (2009)

12.07.2009

Last year, Pyramids stormed out of Denton, Texas with an absolutely massive sound; creating dense, heavy clouds of swirling ambiance, strapping a jackhammer-like drum machine to the back and sending them careening off into God knows where. It was definitely an intriguing introduction, but with few alterations to that formula over the course of the album, it got old a little fast. Despite at times sounding like a bunch of different kinds of bands practicing in the same room, the ideas were there and some of the sounds they managed to create were breathtaking.

With the help of multi-instrumentalist Aidan Baker, known for his prolific ambient drone-metal work in Nadja, and a slew of other guest musicians, Pyramids seem to have found their stride by taking their ear for gorgeous, visceral sounds and letting them unfold over time instead of the 4 minute blasts found on their debut LP. Over the course of four tracks, Baker and Pyramids weave long, beautiful passages that come across surprisingly more human and vulnerable than either of their previous works.

Cocteau Twin’s Simon Joyner contributes bass on ‘Into the Silent Waves’ and ‘An Angel Was Heard To Cry Over The City Of Rome’, while the discs most left-field contribution comes from Chris Simpson, frontman of midwestern emo legends Mineral, whose piano plucked shaft of light in the middle of ‘Another War’ is a pleasant surprise. Guitar beast Colin Marston (Dhysrhythmia/Behold… The Arctopus) engineered and tracked the whole thing.

This monumental album was clearly a labor of love for all of the bands and musicians involved, and it shows through on every track. Between the deathly drones and distortion, there’s a definite fragility that couldn’t be found underneath the dense blasts of Pyramids’ debut. I dare you not to let out a gasp halfway through 20 minute centerpiece ‘The Sound Of Grass and Ice’ when the heavy dirge clears and Pyramids’ gentle vocals and guitar fall quietly down. It came late in the game, but this here’s got a pretty good chance of making it on my best of ’09 list.

Standout Tracks: the entire thing

For Fans Of: either band’s previous work, Sunn O))), Tim Hecker, Jesu

Buy

Brian B.

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