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Pharaoh Overlord

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Pharaoh Overlord 5 album cover
2.95 | 2 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ideal Flower (5:40)
2. Kalanchoe (6:45)
3. Transgenic Papaya (6:22)
4. Abscission (9:58)
5. Soil Horizons (9:31)

Total Time 38:16

Line-up / Musicians

Tomi "Florian" Leppänen (Circle) / drums
Jussi "Ralf" Lehtisalo (Circle) / bass
Aaron Turner - vocals (4)

Releases information

Label: Ektro Records (elektro-142)/ Ruton Music (rut-036)/ Full Contact Records (krypt-148)
Format: Vinyl, CD, Cassette, Digital
October 2, 2019 (Digital), October 25, 2019 (CD, Vinyl, Cassette)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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PHARAOH OVERLORD 5 ratings distribution

(2 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (50%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Pharoah Overlord from Finland (founded in 2000) started as a side project for another band called "Circle". It was founded by the trio of Janne Westerlund (guitar), Jussi Lehtisalo (bass, guitar), and Tomi Leppanen (drums). Since then, the Psychedelic/Space Rock band has had fluctuating line-ups and have introduced various forms in their mostly improvised music. The album "5" is interestingly enough, their 10th full length studio album, released in October of 2019. The original trio is now a duo on this album, consisting of original members Tomi and Jussi. However, the duo isn't just bass and drums now as layers and layers of synths, Moog bass and electronics have been added to their music.

"Ideal Flower" (5:40) proves that style right away as an upbeat percussion and keyboard layers accompany growling vocals. The vocals don't last very long as the synth waves overpower the music, making for a different sound for the project, remaining in dark overtones, but with a more industrial, and/or electronic style that just sounds a little too automatic, not organic. The space rock feel is still there, but it just doesn't seem as authentic now. "Kalanchoe" (6:45) increases the noisy, industrial tone with a dark fuzziness. The beat is aimed more for a moderate tempo and spacey effects are utilized to a greater extent. Before the 2 minute mark, the music backs off a bit but it adds more attention before the fuzzy synths come back in. This track is more interesting and dynamic with exploration and improvisation based off of two different themes. There is a slight Hawkwind vibe here. Low layered vocals come in after the 5 minute mark giving the impression of dark monks singing a repetitive line.

"Transgenic Papaya" (6:22) begins with a fuzzy drone and electronic tones bouncing and swirling around. Sustained notes establish a repetitive riff of 3 notes as percussion bring in the drums, again sounding pre-programmed. Other layers are added in slowly as the tempo picks up including the bass, guitar and stylized piano. Each layer repeats its own individual riff. There are no real developed melodies here as much as there are short riffs and repetitive motifs and the track continues adding and taking away layers. "Abscission" (9:58) is introduced by another fuzzy tone and then strangely happy sounding synths come in almost sounding like "Kraftwerk" but with a lot of fuzz behind it. It's almost of mix of the Berlin School sound and post rock. It makes for a strange combination, for sure. The lack of chord changes here suggest a Krautrock style, mixed with monotonous feel of space rock. Growling and howling vocals from guest Aaron Turner come in after the 6 minute mark as the music continues on its unchanging course. The track is way too long and a bit annoying as screaming guitars and dirty vocals bring it all to a noisy conclusion finally.

"Soil Horizons" (9:31) slowly forms off of a pulsating note and synths playing a riff made up of fast repeating notes. Drums finally join in on a fast paced tempo with bass also coming in creating a foundation. Repetition is the key, and again other effects and treated instrumental motifs come in including the treated piano effect. The beat suddenly solidifies as it nears 4 minutes as the tempo moderates, then it returns to the original patterns again as effects go squealing off into space.

So, the band goes for the electronic and synth filled sounds of space rock, but without any real developments among the tracks. Probably the best track here is Kalanchoe, but even it has all of the elements that you have heard before, but this time with a more automatic feel then the traditional space rock, more of an electronic sound. This might have worked okay if there was a more organic feel to it all, and if it wasn't so repetitive. There is a lack of ingenuity here, and just adding layers to a constant unchanging pattern just doesn't cut it, there has to be some other development there to keep things interesting. So, overall, it is ok music, but nothing really stands out much, even with the EBM experimentation in a few of the tracks. It all still comes across as pretty average techno-industrial electronic music.

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