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Pyramid Theorem biography
Over the past thirty-five years or so, progressive metal has become one of the most exhilaratingly creative and ambitiously saturated subgenres in modern music. Although countless up-and-coming acts emerge every year to take their shot at being the next Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me, Queensr˙che, Opeth, or Tool, few possess the essential blend of enthusiasm, personality, and craftsmanship necessary to deserve such a stature.

Undoubtedly, Canadian quartet Pyramid Theorem is an exception to that norm. Founded in the late 2000s, the band-bassist/vocalist Christian Di Mambro, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Stephan Di Mambro, percussionist Vito De Francesco, and lead guitarist/vocalist Sam Ermellini-have already established themselves as unquenchably imaginative, determined, and skillful on their first two full-length statements (2012's eponymous debut and 2017's "Element of Surprise") and prior EPs. In fact, Edwin van Hoof of HeadBangers Lifestyle praised Pyramid Theorem as "perhaps one of the finest bands in progressive rock today," with other outlets-ProgArchives, Metal Kingdom, and Metal Music Archives-showering them with comparable praise.

As stellar as those records are, however, Pyramid Theorem's latest collection, "Beyond The Exosphere", surpasses them in every respect. Produced and engineered by Rich Chycki (who's previously put his stamp on releases by Rush, Dream Theater, Aerosmith, Pink, and Def Leppard, among others), the five-song sequence sees the group setting new benchmarks for their ability to fuse impassioned and memorable songwriting with mind-blowingly sophisticated, diverse, and virtuosic arrangements. Beyond that, it flows as smoothly and sleekly as anything being made by their stylistic peers, further cementing why this third album should catapult Pyramid Theorem into the mind of every progressive metal aficionado.

So, how did four young guys from Toronto get to this point? Well, as Vito shares, it all began around 2006, when he and Stephan "met at a mutual friend's cottage" and "instantly bonded over" their love of Canada's biggest prog rock band, Rush. Meanwhile, Christian (who's Stephan's brother, of course) and Sam were playing in a different ensemble. One night, Stephan took Vito to see them play, and the pair were "blown away." As fate would have it, Christian and Sam left their band in early 2007, so they started jamming with the other duo in Vito's basement. Sam declares: "I can still remember seeing al...
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PYRAMID THEOREM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 26 ratings
Pyramid Theorem
3.33 | 11 ratings
Element of Surprise
3.95 | 42 ratings
Beyond the Exosphere

PYRAMID THEOREM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PYRAMID THEOREM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Voyage To The Star
4.33 | 3 ratings
Another Day Slips By


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars PYRAMID THEOREM is a Canadian progressive metal band that is on its 3rd release and that I had not heard of yet, shame on me! A metal-melodic-rhythmic and inventive group allowing itself to imitate and refine the typical sound of DREAM THEATER, further away from FATES WARNING and RUSH.

1. 'Beyond the Exosphere' and a melting pot of RUSH and DREAM THEATER; it comes from everywhere; the break on a drum solo, then a slow rise in prog metal, then a finale where the keyboards get involved to draw on the neo- prog; a long playful title which passes like a letter in the post and which shows the extent of the talent of these musicians. 2. Faster 'Under Control' and a leering tune on the DREAM THEATER, vocals included; the tone is agreed but well paced and shows that metal can also be very melodic without getting bored. 3. 'Freedom' continues on the same line with more melody and more guitar solos, it's just a concentrate of the sounds of their masters and a nod to this genre that can go into many prog drawers, all very interesting. 4. 'Closer to the End' calm intro, romantic ballad, roll of machine-gun drums at once to let the sound invade your ears; more symphonic title with the keyboards forward; a little more about the STRATOVARIUS and other MALMSTEEN for the chorus voices; final acute guitar solo on an umpteenth roll of percussions. 5. 'Intonate' wants to be softer, cottony voice and playful piece with here, is it the chance of the last title?, the most beautiful guitar and synth solo; it squirts everywhere before a piano break, a sudden violin and an acoustic arpeggio. The final rise becomes ethereal, grandiloquent and shows that metal, symphony, rhythmicity and energy give the necessary dose to make a very good album.

Well, it's never too late, listen to it, buy it and keep it in your CD-library to bring it out when you run out of energy. An album that will make me follow their work from now on.

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars There is no doubt that even after so many years of reviewing, one of the real delights for me is to be contacted by a band to listen to their latest release, and then realise that it is masterpiece which otherwise I would have never come across. Now, in this case Pyramid Thoerem is something of a rediscovery for me, as singer/bassist Christian Di Mambro actually contacted me at the time of the debut back in 2012, but I can't find the CD in my collection nor a copy of the review in my files, which makes me think it possible that it went missing in the post (which is sadly not unusual ? especially with NZ being at the end of the world).

Anyway, the quartet are completed by Stephan Di Mambro (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Sam Ermellini (guitar, vocals) and Vito De Francesco (drums, percussion), and they have kept the same line-up throughout. The result is something which mixes prog metal with mathcore and neo-prog to create something that is both incredibly high in note density and individual musical expertise while also being innovative and just damn fun to listen to. Any band which kicks off an album with a song which is more than eighteen minutes in length are out to make a serious note of intent, and to keep the listener interested and engaged throughout is not easy, but these guys make it seem just like that. They can be heavy when they need to be, or keep that edge off, and while their approach is somewhat different, I did find myself being reminded somewhat of Mr So & So, although admittedly they were never quite as heavy as this. They make the complex seem easy, yet there is always a purpose and direction, which means the listener finds it easy to follow, and at times it feels far more prog mainstream than it is.

There is a great deal of contrast within the music, with wonderful harmony vocals which often have an edge to them. There is even a voicebox on "Freedom", I mean, outside of Bon Jovi and Frampton when did you last hear one of those? This is exuberant prog metal which feels fresh, exciting, and innovative, powering through and kicking up a storm. These guys are creating their own path, different to both Dream Theater and Threshold, yet will be appealing to fans of both. Anyone who enjoys this style of music needs to seek these guys out at once, if not sooner.

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

3 stars It must be tough being an upstart progressive metal band these days. You likely spent years of your life studying music and perfecting your technique hoping to make music no less ambitious than your idol Dream Theater. And, when it came time to commit your skill to producing distributable music out on the inter-webs, you quickly discovered just how many aspiring progressive metal musicians there are competing for the same narrow sliver of music consumers' attention; and not just in your region or country, but the world over. You realize that talented and competent bands are a dime dozen. Your only hope of standing out is utilizing more niche songwriting, savvy marketing and business strategies, and, most importantly, attempting to tour aggressively. The first two strategies are difficult enough. But thanks to 2020's Wuhan virus, even touring is no longer a feasible one.

While I don't know the dudes in Pyramid Theorem, I am willing to bet they feel the dilemma presented by this very saturation very strongly. Their latest record, Beyond the Exosphere is an undoubtedly impressive achievement displaying incredible technical skill and a knack for big well layered arrangements, the album's outro being a fantastic example of these arrangements. And yet, I can't really say anything about the music overall that is all that remarkable when stacked up against not only against legacy prog acts still making decent music but even the competition presented from young contemporaries like Inner Odyssey. In normal times, you would hope the success of Pyramid Theorem's live act would be the deciding factor in their ability to set themselves apart, but alas?

My advice to a band like Pyramid Theorem would be to find their own unique voice and comfort zone for experimentation. Sure, there's a good chance early attempts will flop hard. But at least they'll be setting themselves up for potentially discovering a kind of metal the world has not yet heard and never knew it wanted. Is this not what progressive music is really all about?

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I'm indebted to Cydemind for introducing me to Pyramid Theorem. I'd never heard of the latter, until the former shared a link to Pyramid Theorem's latest album to introduce their fans to the band they'd be touring with. My memory puts that on Bastille Day 2017, but that may well be the Mandela effect. Regardless, I was immediately impressed by the just released Element of Surprise, which sounded to me like a wonderful mix of Rush and Extreme, but with a harder and heavier edge. They stood out to me then in a prog metal scene full of Dream Theater clones. While that band did appear to still be an influence, the music of Pyramid Theorem never sounded derivative, the way so many prog metal bands of that ilk do. Quite frankly, most prog metal bores me ? but Pyramid Theorem offered something that did indeed have an element of surprise, and was a thoroughly enjoyable and original headbanging romp and stomp.

So, three years down the line, Pyramid Theorem's third album has been released ? Beyond the Exosphere. My first thought, before listening to a note, is to admire the cover art. As much as I liked the music of Element of Surprise, I didn't like the cover art at all. So, with the cover for Beyond the Exosphere being quite possibly my favourite so far this year, I was worried that maybe the inverse might now hold true, and I'd find the music of this new album less inspiring, especially given, three years down the line, I listen to even less prog metal now than I did back then.

From the first notes, it is clear the Rush influence is still key. The album opens with the epic title track, and it's introduction clearly evokes long form songs from the '70s Rush catalogue, though with an entirely contemporary and metal sheen. The first two minutes make an impressive entrance, before the music kicks back a gear, and then another. Thus begins an incredibly melodic passage. All my worries float away, as it becomes clear that Pyramid Theorem may well be influenced by Dream Theater, but they still remind me more of Rush and Extreme. In fact, the way the various parts of the title track are quite distinct is very Rush-like, and it's very cool, maintaining interest incredibly well.

There are ambient moments and some impressive solos. I loved the drums at the very beginning of the track, but the solo is incredible. A lot of people are not fans of drum solos, and even someone like me who loves drums has to admit that some can be rather boring ? but I can't believe anyone could listen to this one and not be impressed. A key to this, I guess, is the length. Pyramid Theorem seems to instinctively know just what is the right length. No passage of the song is too short or too long. The whole thing just works marvellously. Around halfway through the song is possibly my favourite section, which mines a similarly groovy and almost jazzy vibe to that of Dutch band Sky Architect (I'm fairly sure Pyramid Theorem will not be aware of Sky Architect, so this is obviously my inference, rather than any influence).

Honestly, I could make this review just about the title track, so much happens within it. The album is worth it for this one track alone. But that is, of course, a double-edged sword. By putting it first, it does give the remaining tracks some very big shoes to fill. I can't help but be reminded of Rush again, and their classic album 2112. When I first listened to that album, I was so overwhelmed and enamoured by the title track, I almost ignored the remainder of the album. It took quite a long time before I realised how enjoyable the other tracks were. So is the rest of the album a step down? Well, yes, but that doesn't mean that the remaining tracks are no good. And I don't think it really matters. Again, the album is worth it for the title track. The other songs are merely icing on the cake. Given there is definitely more Dream Theater in this release than the previous, another comparison could be to A Change of Seasons. That release is worth buying just for the title track. Not one of the live tracks is as good, but they are still good. Icing on the cake.

Now, I just mentioned there is more Dream Theater in this release, and it is something I have to note because it's not so much to my liking. The final moments of the title track definitely start to sound a little more Dream Theater influenced, and the following Under Control has a definite Dream Theater vibe. Given that band's popularity (and please note, I do actually like Dream Theater myself), I suspect that may make this second track a favourite of many listeners, but for me it becomes the least interesting ? as I like it more when Pyramid Theorem show the originality and flair they clearly possess. Attention all planets of the Solar Federation. Dream Theater have assumed control. Freedom brings things back on track for me. Still a clear Dream Theater influence, but I really like this track, and I love the vocals. And the bells. The bells! How awesome are they? And some more amazing drums on this track.

Closer to the End has an epic feel to it, if not length. Stabbing keyboard flourishes, choral vocals, and repeated staccato riffs all impose a real sense of drama. The keyboard playing is scorching and keeps up the intensity. If this is Dream Theater, it's The Astonishing ? but as that's probably my favourite Dream Theater album, that's fine with me. And as much as I keep mentioning Dream Theater, I need to reiterate that Pyramid Theorem never sound like one of those soulless clones of that band. There's still so much going on in here, and I'm going to mention Extreme again, as I hear that again. This track doesn't have any overt funk to it, the way so many other Pyramid Theorem songs do, but it's still there ? hidden underneath the bombast. This is a groovy wee tune, and I completely dig it. If there's a standout track on Beyond the Exosphere apart from the title track, it's probably this one.

The album ends with Intonate, closing things out in style ? albeit a lot of that style is again very reminiscent of Dream Theater. The drumming towards the end is sublime (yes, I've mentioned the drums a lot in this review ? I love the drum sounds on this album!). Overall, I really like Beyond the Exosphere, and more so than its predecessor. However, I do have some concerns for the future. Despite my enjoyment, it's hard not to hear how much more of the Dream Theater sound is creeping into the music of Pyramid Theorem. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and it may help sell more records, but I rather hope the band tones it down for their next album, as otherwise I fear they may be in danger of becoming another Dream Theater clone. Then again, perhaps Pyramid Theorem have merely used the Dream Theater vibe to unite the album, and give it greater cohesion? Element of Surprise was an eclectic delight with an element of surprise to every song. Beyond the Exosphere may still be somewhat multi-faceted, but it holds together as an album far more. It will definitely be interesting to see where the band goes from here?

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars The adventure of this band started in 2007 by musicians that were big Rush and Dream Theater fans, They must have listened to the latter closely because it sounds a lot like the leader of that genre. The guitar playing is also very much Petrucci influenced, and the drum playing is impressive throughout the whole album. The first 18 minutes epic is a slap in the face with all the trademark of a solid symphonic prog metal song combining technique and melody to make you jump out of your seat. The first part of the song is highlighted by one of the coolest drum solos I have heard followed by an ambient passage where the song picks up his pace slowly with keyboards. It would be a difficult task to surpass the quality of that first song in the next short songs of the album, but the band succeeds to keep the momentum with some solid songwriting letting all musicians take their spot including the keyboards. In the end, you can hear some Symphony-X influence, but despite the fact that the band clearly shows their influences on their sleeves, they still managed to craft their own sound with more dynamics and melody than a lot of Prog Metal bands.
 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars Beyond the Exosphere, by the Canadians Pyramid Theorem, is a forceful work, where high-voltage developments are nuanced with short and effective elements of the highest sensitivity and devoid of greater instrumental clothing, but as intense as the most vibrant moments. In the powerful musical proposal that unfolds firmly in its 41 minutes, the influences of one of the prog metal references Dream Theater are recognizable, and the occasional nod to his legendary compatriots Rush.

The progressive spirit is present from the very opening of the album, with the almost 18 minutes of the formidable Beyond the Exosphere, which, in addition to giving the album its name, is a theme of infinite variations, intertwining sharp guitars, incisive keyboards, a very interesting drum solo, and a correct vocal part. Immediately the vigorous Under Control (magnificent introduction) and the desperate Freedom (the bells give it an imposing effect) recall the modernized metal of the eighties, to later give way to the superb and heartbreaking Closer To The End, possessing a force and drama that is increasing until its overwhelming end. It's, in my opinion, the best song on the album. Intonate, a deep display of sensitivity with pianos and acoustic guitars from the second half of the song, closes the album in great shape. Provided with an impeccable production work, Beyond the Exosphere is highly recommended for those who like progressive rock, and especially for those who love its most incendiary side.

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I tend to find it great whenever I get requested to review some modern prog metal album, since while I've been very vocal about my dislike for the direction it's headed as a whole, these requests always tend to reveal the material in the genre I find more enjoyable to an extent, and this one's definitely no exception. As is fairly standard for these sorts of albums, there's no doubt that there's a lot of extremely clear influence taken from past giants of the genre, in this case Dream Theater, but as is also practically the standard these days, it's also a lot better than any of the material that DT have put out over the last 10 - 15 years or so. The fact that there's also some clear Rush influence in this further helps separate it from the sea of DT clones to an extent, with the sometimes catchy, more straightforward melodies and hooks giving the album some more lasting impact, rather than simply feeling like yet another band soloing for the sake of looking cool and proficient at their chosen instrument.

From the moment the opening epic Beyond the Exosphere kicks off, it immediately becomes clear how Rush inspired the band, with the opening few seconds sounding incredibly similar to Fountain of Lamneth before breaking into more traditional prog metal territory. The epic as a whole is honestly pretty well structured, constantly ebbing and flowing while also progressively becoming more intense with each build up, managing to actually sound worthy of being the length it is, rather than simply sounding like a regular track but long. I also get some occasional Symphony X vibes from the vocal delivery, the more powerful nature of it, which is another thing I quite appreciate, further separating itself from the overt similarities to Dream Theater. This also happens to be a rare case of a prog drum solo not being a complete waste of time, being rather short, yet also contributing to the progression of the song in the way it brings for a somewhat darker tone that ends up leading into an extremely solid groove as the song explodes into an absolutely amazing, climactic few minutes that completely reminds me why I used to have such a love for the genre. The song on the whole is just a really fun time to me and definitely sets the album up nicely.

The rest of the album unfortunately is a step down from this first track, although is still pretty good for the most part. Main issue with this part is that it sounds more like a dramatic, densely produced 80s metal album, rather than having the prog qualities that made the opening track as good as it was, but even so, it's not bad, albeit not too memorable for tracks 2 and 3 either, being vaguely nice to listen to rather than anything I have the desire to look deeper into. It's in Closer to the End where things get back on track, being yet another more straightforward song with a clear cut chorus and everything, but I really like it, it feels like there's a bit of genuine emotion behind it and evokes almost apocalyptic imagery with how downright grandiose and epic it sounds, especially with the choral vocals. Intonate closes the album off decently, with the vocals being of particular note here with the great harmonies bringing an additional powerful edge to the track, solidifying the sense of finality that it's able to bring to the close really nicely, especially when combined with the amazing symphonic outro.

Overall, it's stuff like this that ends up reminding me why prog metal was a genre I loved so much at one point, as while this may not be an album with anything particularly new or shocking, it takes from its influences rather well to make an enjoyable listen, especially when looking at the epic on it and the way it actually fully feels like it deserves all 17 minutes. While not really an album I'd recommend to change someone's mind about the genre, I do think that this is an album you should check out if you're a fan of Dream Theater and Rush, since it's clearly the audience this band seems to cater towards, and it pulls it off rather well.

Best tracks: Beyond the Exosphere, Closer to the End

Weakest tracks: Freedom

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Some wonderful sound innovations by this band from Toronto contrasted by some very old sounding metal music sounds and tricks. Weird! Upon re-listening to this album for the second and third times I even found myself wondering if songs #2 & #3 were recorded 30 years ago--or if it was even the same band members that recorded them!

1. "Beyond the Exosphere" (17:53) Some absolutely brilliant, gorgeous, and powerful musics side-by-side with some rather blasé run-of the mill metal--which is disappointing as this could've been one of the year's stellar epics. Still, my second favorite song on the album. (32/35) 2. "Under Control" (4:48) Time warp! we're in the 1980s! (8/10) 3. "Freedom" (4:39) More old metal! What happened to the band that made that excellent opening epic? (8.25/10) 4. "Closer to the End" (7:06) some cool effects--like the choral vocals and the alternating machine gun bass and kick drum riffs alternating with Mellotron "ohs." My third favorite song on the album. (13/15) 5. "Intonate" (6:48) great multi-voiced vocals throughout. The best song on the album. (14.5/15)

Total Time 41:14

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece collection of songs, some reaching metal prog perfection while others feel as if they were pulled out of some 1980s metal-by-numbers playbook.

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by FatherChristmas

4 stars Despite always being a big fan of what some call "heavy prog" (Rush, Porcupine Tree etc.) I've never really paid much attention to progressive metal. Now I've listened to this album, I now realise what a massive mistake that was. This album has really got me into the genre, and I've enjoyed it so much I'm going to try and listen their previous albums as soon as I find time. Anyway, here's my review of this one.

"Beyond the Exosphere", a 17-minute epic, opens the album with a bombastic guitar riff, which soon develops into an equally epic guitar solo. The first section, "Ascension", acts a bit like "Prelude" in the Rush (with whom they share nationality) epic "Cygnus X-1", many riffs from it are repeated later in the song - or, I should say, many similar riffs are played later in the song, I'm not sure whether the exact riffs are played again - with a short section include vocals.

And talking of vocals, I was impressed by the singing. From all I've heard about metal, I expected the lead vocalist to be screaming his head off, but no, his voice is perfectly in tune, clear, and generally ideal for the music. Also, the band are all great musicians - not that I wouldn't expect that, but they play some stuff, particularly on "Beyond the Exposure", that sounds very difficult - and they play it with expertise.

Back onto the subject of the opening track, once "Ascension" ends, the next part, called "Planetary Transit" comes in; which begins with - I have to admit it - one of the best drum solos I have ever heard (though I shall say no more here to ruin it for those who have not heard it). The other parts - "Regenesis" and "Quantum Leap" - are just as good; I particularly like the outro (some of the keyboard parts, I believe, are similar to "The Cinema Show" by Genesis).

So, to conclude my small essay on this marvellous song, I shall waste no further time endlessly describing it paragraph by paragraph, when I can do so in three simple adjectives: amazing, entertaining, and imaginative. Amazing goes without saying. Entertaining - I have not once been bored while listening to this song, and despite (as I mentioned earlier) repeating some riffs from the first section similar to "Cygnus X-1" by Rush, it is somehow not repetitive like "Cygnus X-1" is - and, to be honest, I'd actually rather listen to "Beyond the Exposure" than "Cygnus", as it is much less boring and more fun (yep, I said it). Finally, I have stated perhaps the most important word, imaginative, because it is hugely musically varied. It seems Pyramid Theorem have not been afraid to experiment, like the very first prog bands, with new technology - look at that drum solo - and with a huge variety of riffs and motifs throughout the song, that clearly indicate they as a band have a wide imagination, represented all at once in one brilliant, epic... epic.

After the brilliance of "Beyond the Exosphere", an acoustic (well, sort of) guitar and synths swirl in, which evolves into a heavy muted guitar riff, accompanied by the rest of the band - announcing the beginning of the next song, "Under Control". It features a lot of shifty time signatures, which give it a sense of speed and urgency, and thus feels a bit like a fast, short break after the lengthy "Beyond the Exposure". An ok song, but I think it lacks a certain distinguishment between each part of the musical composition - it feels a little repetitive, but not on a large scale.

Next, we're onto "Freedom". This sounds more like a classic metal song (if it weren't for the odd time signatures, conceptual lyrics and quite a few other things it would be perfect), due to the heavy riffs and drums, bellowed vocals, very loud volume - not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, after "Beyond the Exosphere", it's my favourite song on the album, featuring a great guitar solo (always a winner with me) and has some excellent lyrics - "Obey, or be swept away" ...epic.

Then we get to "Closer to the End", which, literally, is closer to the end. It begins with vocals though a voice distortioner accompanied by some mysterious-sounding acoustic chords on the guitar. This develops into an electric, thunderous guitar riff, and the rest of the band join in. The lyrics go on for a bit before it all breaks down at about two minutes fifty seconds in; however, it soon gets up again with a really good instrumental section featuring an organ solo that gives Rick Wakeman a run for his money and yet another astonishing guitar solo. After a while it returns to the mysterious-sounding acoustic chords and distorted vocals and basically repeats the cycle - except without another instrumental section. A really topping track.

Finally... "Intonate", the last song. It opens with distorted drumming - in fact, a lot of the music in this song is distorted. Even the time signatures are a bit distorted, if you know what I mean. You couldn't wish for a more uptempo, bombastic, musically varied finale - there's so much music in the song I can barely describe it. I suggest you just listen to it and see what I mean.

And to conclude! As you will know if you have read my other reviews, I have two requirements for a five star album:

1. The songs must all be excellent.

2. It must work brilliantly as an album.

I'll head of number two quickly. This album flows from track to track excellently. You might say this is not an important consideration, but actually, if the tracks on an album don't go well together, or they're ordered wrongly, it can seriously affect how people view it.

As for number one, the songs are generally great. "Under Control" perhaps could have been better, and if you wanted to be really perfectionist "Intonate" should have been a bit longer - there are so many parts I thought it was about three minutes long, I was shocked to see it round to about seven. Other than that, though, it's perfect - and, as I mentioned at the beginning, it's what's got me into prog metal. It might not be as brilliant for others, but for me it's as classic as an album like Moving Pictures.

So, the final verdict is... four stars.

 Beyond the Exosphere by PYRAMID THEOREM album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 42 ratings

Beyond the Exosphere
Pyramid Theorem Progressive Metal

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars Hot Damn- Run, Don't Walk!

Evolution of Brilliance

It wasn't that long ago PYRAMID THEOREM posted videos ("Drive" anyone?) featuring smokin' hot 80's metal riffs and half-naked smokin' hot ladies plus classic hot cars.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

You could hear the influences in their earlier music-the Rush, Dream Theater, and other progressive metal greats.

You could sense that these guys were dynamite musicians, filled with verve, fire, and relentless energy, showing lots of chops and moxie.

It All Gels Now

So. "Beyond the Exosphere". Calm me down and call me out if you think I get too ridiculous, but here's how I hear this one.

Transcendence, pushing boundaries, searching for meaning. Trust or fear? What guidance is there, or are we alone, on our own in the vastness of the infinity of the universe (or the multiverse?)?

For Me, This is a Concept Album

Certainly from the epic opening multi-part title track...yet I think the next four tracks complete the saga.

It's all of a piece, from the clean burst of guitar/bass/drums/keyboards of the opening, the (bless you PYRAMID THEOREM) clean vocals, silky harmonies, the atmospheric and cinematic sweeps portraying a people with fear and hope fleeing a dying world and seeking another...

...To the final percussive, dark riffs of "Intonate" replete with dual guitar/synth lines, complex lead lines subsiding into near-orchestral piano, then strings, then in a building, growing stately passage in which the oh-so-energizing drumming- a highlight throughout, by the way- and all the way until the album is complete...

It Tells a Tale

The opening epic- and I have mixed feelings about opening with an epic track- covers quite an enormous, invigorating, vast progressive rock and metal territory.

It is captivating, the music complex, musicianship impeccable. Tempos change, guitar lines sing and surge, keyboards add flavor and the synth lines sizzle. The bass guitar (I'm a sucker for Rickenbacker basses, thanks to Mr. Squire) and the drums are more than foundational, they are transformational in depth, resonance, and energy.

The story line begins- searching for a home, for mastery through wisdom and technology- god-like leadership or demonic soul-crushing?

Under Control

Speaking of which (control, that is), PYRAMID THEOREM unhesitatingly wades into the contemporary world, with contemporary, timely questions and perspective.

May I just say, progressive rock fanatic that I am, we fanatics live too often in alternative realms, seeming to eschew and ignore the contemporaneous world about us- Tolkien, space travel, castles and dragons and sword fights, with damsels in distress...

...again, not that there's anything wrong with any of these.

Amazon. Trump. Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex.

Such matters are part of the quest for transcendence. Set over blistering riffs and mind-melding band interactions, the saga continues.


Oh so tight, urgent playing urges us to WAKE UP, to raise our voices, and to exercise the free choices we are given. The music slows, becomes stately, rich, with use of chimes, cinematic keyboards and power chords. Regal...ending with a whir...

Closer to the End

Here, for a brief breather, there a gentle, eerie opening with distant vocals introducing the urgency, the world- weary realization that billions of soldiers/armies/armaments and so many 'noble causes' may ironically destroy rather than rebuild us.

Then heavy guitar chords enter, gorgeous vocal harmonies, pleading, "Find me a place where I can belong!"

Well, does that resonate with anyone else? What motivates so many of us?

Complex band musicianship underlies these questing vocal lines, almost as if some god-like being is part of the search, and perhaps, part of the solution?


Again, slap me around if I'm too out there.

I think PYRAMID THEOREM is suggesting there IS something transcendent- not so far from us yet so much more than any one of us- the 'universal mind', melded with the 'fractal point of view'. If indeed an alien race from another corner of the universe/multiverse seeded and colonized us, how do we receive them? What if anything can we expect from them and ourselves?

Intonate pulses with dark, jagged riffs, amazing guitar/synth harmonizing, lovely vocal lines, subsiding, as I mentioned earlier, only to rebuild based on acoustic piano into an ever growing finale...

...That then slowly subsides and fades...

My Conclusions

Masterful. Impeccable. Brilliant. Thought-provoking. Mind-bending.

Since I think the term 'masterpiece' is thrown around too lightly, I won't go there, with all due respect to this album and PYRAMID THEOREM. Much respect.

I rate this one 4.5 out of 5 stars. Run- don't walk! Get this one!

Thanks to TCat for the artist addition.

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