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PHARAOH OVERLORD

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Finland


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Pharaoh Overlord biography
PHARAOH OVERLORD is a side project of the Finnish band CIRCLE. The group started as an instrumental trio, with Janne Westerlund as guitarist, Jussi Lehtisalo playing both bass and guitar, and Tomi Leppänen on drums. On later records there are various line-ups, and the style of albums oscillates between very repetitive stoner rock, improvisational avantgarde sound installations and aggressive 80's flavored heavy rock outbursts. Group's live performances and records should please the audience interested of heavy psych droning, but tolerance for heavy metal surprises makes the random approach to this esoteric group more easier.

Discography

Albums:
2000 "#1" (ektro-010CD)
2003 "#2" (NOQ003)
2004 "The Battle of The Axehammer" (LVD-058)
2005 "#3" (REPOSECD09)
2006 "#4" (ektro-036, core042)
2007 "Live in Suomi Finland" (vivo2007028CD, Klangbad 49LP)
2010 "Siluurikaudella" (ektro-064)
2011 "Out of Darkness" (ektro-066)
2011 "Horn" (SVR049 / KRYPT-011)
2012 "Lunar Jetman" (ektro-070, SIGE 012)

Singles:
2010 "Vesitorni"

Compilation appearances:
2007 "Klangbad Festival 2007" (klangbad 36)


Eetu Pellonpää (updated 2012)


Sources:
www.ektrorecords.com
rateyourmusic.com
Album liner notes

Pharaoh Overlord official website

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PHARAOH OVERLORD Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy PHARAOH OVERLORD Music


IIII
No Quarter 2003
Audio CD$14.69
$9.99 (used)
Number 3Number 3
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 2008
Audio CD$49.99 (used)
The Battle of the Axehammer (Live)The Battle of the Axehammer (Live)
Audio CD$7.15 (used)
Lunar JetmanLunar Jetman
Limited Edition
Sige 2012
Vinyl$149.99
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PHARAOH OVERLORD shows & tickets


  • Pharaoh Overlord & Spettro Family on 31 Oct 2014

PHARAOH OVERLORD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PHARAOH OVERLORD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 9 ratings
#1
2000
3.00 | 5 ratings
#2
2003
2.00 | 2 ratings
#3
2005
2.04 | 6 ratings
#4
2006
3.91 | 4 ratings
Siluurikaudella
2010
2.08 | 7 ratings
Out Of Darkness
2011
3.85 | 8 ratings
Lunar Jetman
2012

PHARAOH OVERLORD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 3 ratings
The Battle of The Axehammer
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Suomi Finland
2007
4.50 | 2 ratings
Horn
2011

PHARAOH OVERLORD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PHARAOH OVERLORD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PHARAOH OVERLORD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PHARAOH OVERLORD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lunar Jetman by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.85 | 8 ratings

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Lunar Jetman
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This album synthesis in quite interesting way the early acid rock drone minimalism, more sinister riff tones of the heavy metal experimentations, and also the industrial dirtiness of open wanderings of "Siluurikaudella" album. The tensions are built with devoted patience, allowing experiences of monolithic sanctity in abstract levels, allowing subjective meditation on emotional level. There are some calmer jazzy phases in the powerful maelstrom of sound, rolling with the power of nature's forces from the stereos. The conclusion on "Cave of Hair" certainly escapes to very divine levels of power. A wonderful highlight for me on the various discography of the band, which still contains clear curves of artistic development.

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 Out Of Darkness by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.08 | 7 ratings

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Out Of Darkness
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars This album dives most further to studies of eighties heavy metal riffs and songwriting, mimicking the stylistic nuances of groups like Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio and late 1980's Black Sabbath. The album covers remembering the teenage flags of the time give correct signal of the material. I personally am not very fond of this kind of music, but listening this record carefully though made it evident for me, how well the material is performed and captured to the album. So if you have appetite for elevating hard rock / heavy music with really powerful riffs, this chapter of the Pharaoh Overlord's artistic progress certainly offers it with fine quality. Those interested of more meditative recordings might enjoy other albums of the band more, f.ex. "#1", "Horn", "Siluurikaudella" or "Lunar Jetman" based on my own listening encounters.

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 #4 by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.04 | 6 ratings

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#4
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Pharaoh Overlord's fourth album ventures to the brutal realms of 1980's oriented heavy metal riffs. The compositions still have the philosophies of menacing repetitive hypnotics, but instead of first record's vintage acid rock aesthetics, these stoner riffs are dressed upon the easy riders flying on their choppers towards the sunset. If you like later records of Budgie, classic Motörhead and open heavy jam music like Earthless, this side of Pharaoh Overlord's production phases might please you. Compositions, production and playing are all done in very professional manner, so the enjoyment is a question of taste preferences certainly. I personally liked their more sacral live performances I had seen and more traditional stoner / avant-garde recordings.

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 Siluurikaudella by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.91 | 4 ratings

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Siluurikaudella
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This Pharaoh Overlord album carries a title referring to ancient visions of Silurian ages, but instead of trilobites the line-up of several guitars and a rhythm section craft more modern industrial meanings to this concept with their archaic and atonal sculptures of avant-gardist free rock visions. The epochs of this imaginary interpretation of quasi-ancestral history is divided to three ages; All starts calmly with subtle string pickings, preparing for the mighty elevation of "Water Tower". Patient improvisations create intense feeling, bringing visions of water drips randomly running down huge concrete pillars surface, drips glimmering on the light of dawn. I personally felt this autistic focus to rhythmless exchanging of musical ideas as comforting alternative for the group's other records, often dominated by heavy rock or stoner riff patterns. These motives are also flowing by pleasant logics, escaping the risks of falling into complete random chaos without listening of other players, how unconventional the sonic environment ever should be. The anticipating tension on the final moments of the first song gives hint of the cacophonic assault occurring on "Casting Festival", celebrating the now erected tower trough furious bacchanal of drum and guitar maelstrom. In the middle part of the song the aggression settles down, instruments wandering each other with curious caution, still engaging momentarily to short skirmishes with each other. The drummer leads the group wonderfully with his freeform timings, proving his skill on melodic playing approach to his instrument. He also finds convincing channels to other musicians, who together close the song with sharp mutual strikes. Last tune "Diagram 3" has some shades of bluesy stoner music, but from quite alienated perspective. Maybe the concept here could be being observed as a process of people drawn building's construction blueprint diagrams without any plans about the end result. With time, fast but still quiet rhythm starts to gather the guitars together. Instead of blowing up a familiar riff passage, the process however tames down. From the subtle hours of void the guitars learn themselves the strait of monolithic note repetition, escaping to the grandiose void of astonishment left behind. One reference for this album's music could be Pat Metheny's "The Sign of Four" experimentations, if implemented to the psychedelic heavy sound familiar from Pharaoh Overlord's other recordings, but not getting lost as far as the referred project did. The difference seems to be the choice between total rejection of basic human emotions in their aggressive chaos versus confusion still relating to common subconsciousness. A really fine experimental record from the Pharaohs of mythic rock codexes, certainly recommended.

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 Live in Suomi Finland by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Live, 2007
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Live in Suomi Finland
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars After getting a taste of what Pharaoh Overlord's music sounds live I didn't hesitated to get their 2007 live album as soon as it got released. But there's something strange about this release. I was expecting another "Battle Of Axehammer" kind of album with raw sound quality ear-damaging playing. Instead what I got is a more psychedelic and less motorik album with special musical guest Hans Joachim Irmler from FAUST!

The first thing one notices listening to Live In Suomi Finland is the drastic change in volume and size of the music when compared to Battle Of Axehammer. In some way this album is more accessible than the other thanks to the newly improved sound quality. Another point in favor are the big amount of psychedelic effects used on this album compared to the other live album which makes the album more enjoyable for fans who aren't necessarily stoner rock fans.

A strange thing about this album is that 3 of the 5 songs presented on this album are already presented on their 2004 live album. It was a bit of a let down for me seeing on the track list songs that I'm already familiar with, but since the change of sound is so drastic from one live album to another the songs take new life and it sounds like different take on the song instead of repeating the same thing over again. A great example of this is Mangrove, this is still the best song both live albums and on Live In Suomi Finland they extend the song from its original 9-10 minute track length to 15 minute of rhythm-heavy stoner rock with swirling and noisy psychedelic flavors. The 2 different songs are a nice thing to see and listen to (I only have both live albums and their debut), even though they still use the same minimalistic formula since their debut (you decide whether it's a good thing or not, I personally love it).

Live In Suomi Finland is a great live album for fans of Pharaoh Overlord as well as fans of Krautrock to a lesser extent. The album makes a great company with their 2004 live album and this is the more accessible album of the two. So people looking for some Pharaoh Overlord live action, but are afraid to dive into the giganticness that is Battle Of Axehammer then feel free to give this live album a chance.

I still prefer the 2004 album by a slight margin...

3.5 out of 5

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 The Battle of The Axehammer by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Live, 2004
4.05 | 3 ratings

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The Battle of The Axehammer
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Your sound system's worst nightmare

The Battle Of Axehammer... I still remember the first time I heard the album and the impression it left on me as well. My only previous encounter with Pharaoh Overlord before listening to this album was their debut and while it left a positive impression on me it wasn't going to be an album that I was going to play it constantly. I've been quite skeptical about live recordings, but I was curious as to how this kind of music will translate on a live setting and that curiosity really paid off.

Have you ever witnessed a band improving their sound only because of a bad quality recording?

Yes, it's a weird thought and it's something that's very hard to imagine, but in Pharaoh Overlord's case it's true! The enjoyment of this music owes a lot of debt to the actual sound quality. The music sounds dirtier, rawer, more aggressive, noisier and larger than life! Every note sounds so massive and real that one feels like the band is playing right in front of you. This is how Stoner Rock suppose to sound like. There's no need to polish the sound if you're going to try and sound as dirty as possible, right?

Pharaoh Overlord's Stoner Rock is centered on repetition until their hearts content, this gives out their Krautrock influences (all the members are part of the band Circle, after all). The huge bass sound start most of the songs giving them groove and melody right from the start. The earthquake-like drumming is slow, but it complements the bass' groove and vice versa. The massive guitar riffs will keep you head banging all the way through those 8-12 minute songs without any mercy. There are some slight psychedelic effects, but they're not the main attraction on this album, you'll need to listen to their 2007 live album for that. The downer of this album is that it isn't intended to be played thoroughly. The album can get a bit tiresome after a couple of listen so it's best to keep this band for special occasions or when in the need to head bang your head out of your body.

The Battle Of Axehammer is NOT recommended for everyone. The repetition of the songs will put many people off and the horrible sound quality will make things even worse if not prepared. People who want to get into Pharaoh Overlord's music should check out their debut first, but be sure to listen to this album before throwing them aside. If you're a stoner rock fan and enjoy this raw, groovy and unrelenting type of music then don't miss out on Pharaoh Overlord's The Battle Of Axehammer

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 #1 by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.96 | 9 ratings

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#1
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars As I had read a praising review of this vintage styled record, I went to buy it from the local record shop specialized in old progressive music. The shopkeeper warned me when I gave him the money, that he personally didn't understand this stuff. I believe that an appreciation to minimalism and the state of trance are required to be able to like this record, which has six ca. ten minutes long simple improvisational runs on different rhythms, varying from very slow beat ("Alcohol (Blue Flame)") to faster grooves ("Mangrove"). The album's sound is dominated by a low fuzz stoner rock guitar, and mantra like static musical vision, evolving carefully and with strict discipline. Though this music might be labeled as underground and hard to get into, I would question its accessibility's difficultness. At least those of my friends who are interested of electronic trance music liked this album very much. I think it could be seen as an organic version of some kind of trance techno music, like the sounds of another hypnotic Finnish band Hidria Spacefolk. I had liked to listen this whilst driving long distances on the motorway, as it's then easy to meditate this record from the beginning to the end. If this monotonic transcendental music is your cup of tea, I recommend this album for you warmly, as I consider it as a release of high quality.

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Thanks to alucard for the artist addition. and to Eetu Pellonpää for the last updates

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