Pyramid Theorem – ‘Beyond the Exosphere’ Review
Formed in the late 2000s, the Toronto rock outfit Pyramid Theorem have released their third album ‘Beyond the Exosphere’. This is the first of their work that I’m personally coming across, and it’s been an absolute joy to listen to. The band ooze influence from Rush and Dream Theater. Even just from the album structure is very similar to Rush’s ‘2112’ record.
These influences would make sense as mixing engineer Richard Chycki is the one in charge of this record. He’s previously worked with Dream Theater, Rush, Aerosmith, and more to create some fantastic new records, and remix some older ones to just as high a standard.
We start off with the title track ‘Beyond the Exosphere’, a near 18 minute long epic that gets you instantly hooked in from the get-go. A high energy instrumental introduction followed by a virtuosic guitar solo, instead of a long and subtle lead-in. When the vocals come in, the vocalist has a soft timbre to their voice. Given three member of the band are listed as vocalists in the album credits, I’m honestly not sure which one it is. Clearly all the members of this ensemble are multi-talented.
We have some funky key changes and chord progressions which is where I can hear plenty of Dream Theater influence coming into play. With an impressively long snare roll, we move into what feels like the next movement of the track with a spaced-out synth break to give us some variety. This leads into an absolutely monumental drum solo which has been thrown through a phaser which is probably my favourite bit of production on this record just for how memorable that moment has become for me.
I won’t drag on too much about this track, but given the length and compositional bravery that it enthrals – it is the absolute highlight of the album.
I’m very glad that the energy from the first continues throughout the rest of the album. I’ve found in the past that some artists that structure their albums with the so-called ‘epic’ as the introduction leave the rest of the album behind with the similar energy levels to that of incomplete bonus tracks. Pyramid Theorem are different.
‘Under Control’ and ‘Freedom’ both have incredibly catchy vocal lines backed up with the same superb instrumentals we’ve already been introduced to. The playing throughout continues to be incredibly tight with a particularly delicious guitar solo towards the end of ‘Freedom’.
Shifted the conversation back to influences, the tubular bells combined with the classic prog metal instrumentation and harmonisations used in ‘Freedom’ instantly take me to Dream Theater’s ‘Octavarium’ album. There’s clearly some fangirling happening at Pyramid Theroem HQ to be able to encapsulate all different eras of some of what must be their favourite bands.
The final track ‘Intonate’ reminds me of Dream Theater’s ‘Learning to Live’. There are some really beautiful moments in this song, particularly during the orchestral section in the latter half. I’m an absolute sucker for string ensembles being implemented into progressive metal songs, so this ticks all the boxes for me! Especially the fantastic guitar solo that that lays on top of it.
If I’ve perked up your interest, then I’d recommend checking out the album in full on their Bandcamp.