Pharaoh Overlord – #1 [2001]

Space Rock/Drone/Electronic • Finland
(Ektro Records 2001, ektro-010CD)
Here’s something new for Circle fans. Jussi Lehtisalo decided he needed to explore an interest in Stoner rock and the result is the throbbing, mind melting, metallic, stoned psychedelia that is Pharaoh Overlord. Circle aficionados will recognize that band’s trademark repetitive patterns, but the Overlord features some totally cosmic freakout sounds. The bass lays down a plodding Stoner rhythmic pattern, though there’s nothing overly sludgy in Pharaoh Overlord’s music. But the guitar… oh man, this is some seriously cosmic shit!!! ‘Slow City’ opens the set and for 10 minutes eases the listener into a jamming psychedelic groove. ‘Mangrove’ cranks up the aggression level a bit with heart pounding chords and crunchy psych-metal riffs. ‘Transatlantic’ is a highlight that in terms of the rhythm section reminds me the most of Circle, but the guitar takes off into a gorgeous pulsating acidic exploration that will feed your head and carry you away on a cloud. But just when you’re really relaxed and well focused on your mantra, the crunchy riffs kick in and start to knead your brain like the dough that it’s by now surely become. ‘Alcohol (Blue Flame)’ and ‘Landslide Non Stop’ are the most overtly roll-a-tank-across-yer-chest Stoner metal tunes on the disc. The bass will drag you through a thick swamp of oozing sludge while the guitar plays the most bubbling wah-wah heaven acid rock I’ve heard yet this year. Kosmiche brain slam!!!

There are 6 tracks on the CD, all in the 7-10 minute range, so the band really stretches out and explores the psycho metallic trip realms. There’s nothing particularly complex or sophisticated here. Just a kick ass set of spaced out psychedelic Stoner metal that fans of the heavy stuff will absolutely drool over. –aural innovations.

Track List:
01 – Slow City (9:54)
02 – Mangrove (9:07)
03 – Mystery Shopper (10:23)
04 – Transatlantic (7:11)
05 – Alcohol (Blue Flame) (8:13)
06 – Landslide Non Stop (9:50)

LineUp:
– Janne Westerlund (guitar)
– Jussi Lehtisalo (bass and guitar)
– Tomi Leppänen (drums)

Pharaoh Overlord – #2 [2003]

Pharaoh Overlord take huge rock songs and turn them into minimal trance-inducing drones. Drawing influence from 70’s drug rock like Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and kraut rock ala Can and Neu!, their 2nd full length sees them venturing further into the void of repetition and psychedelia. Pharaoh Overlord features members of Circle.

Track List:
01 – Komaron Runner (6:04)
02 – August (5:59)
03 – Dark Temper (7:51)
04 – Skyline (9:58)
05 – Love Unfiltered (10:50)
06 – Who Were You (10:09)

LineUp:
– Janne Westerlund (guitar)
– Jussi Lehtisalo (bass and guitar)
– Tomi Leppänen (drums)

Pharaoh Overlord – The Battle of the Axehammer (Live) [2004]

The Battle Of The Axehammer (Live) is the third album by Finnish experimental rock band Pharaoh Overlord.

It was recorded on 28 September 2001 in Helsinki and released on CD in 2004 by Last Visible Dog. It features three members of krautrock-influenced rock band Circle indulging their love for stoner rock. This is the first album to feature players other than the key trio. Heavy with distortion, it reflects the sound of the band’s debut album rather than later recordings. Two of the songs are taken from Pharaoh Overlord #1; one from Pharaoh Overlord #2; and two tracks, Mountain and Black Horse, make their debut here.

Track List:
01 – Mountain (13:28)
02 – Skyline (10:28)
03 – Mystery Shopper (13:25)
04 – Mangrove (10:57)
05 – Black Horse (8:37)

LineUp:
– Jussi Lehtisalo (bass and guitar)
– Tomi Leppänen (drums)
– Janne Westerlund (guitar)
– Jyrki Laiho (Guitar [Slide])
– Pekka Pirttikangas (guitar)

Pharaoh Overlord – #3 [2005]

Pharaoh Overlord #3 is the fourth album by Finnish experimental rock band Pharaoh Overlord.

It follows closely the pattern developed on Pharaoh Overlord #2 of quieter, more reflective tracks, whilst maintaining the krautrock-influenced hypnotic repetition common to all the band’s releases up to this point. A notable exception to this was the track Autobahn, ten minutes of buzzing guitar feedback drone which points towards the more abstract sounds of 2010’s Siluurikaudella. Octagon, meanwhile, is the first Pharaoh Overlord track to feature vocals.

–another review at… BBC Music.

Track List:
01 – Test Flight (9:52)
02 – Blackout (4:45)
03 – Laivaus 17 (13:13)
04 – Autobahn (9:59)
05 – Octagon (13:34)
06 – Journey (9:56)

LineUp:
– Jussi Lehtisalo (bass and guitar)
– Tomi Leppänen (drums)
– Janne Westerlund (guitar)
– Aki Peltonen (guitar)

Pharaoh Overlord – #4 [2006]

Pharaoh Overlord #4 is the fifth album by Finnish experimental rock band Pharaoh Overlord.

It represents a dramatic shift away from the instrumental stoner rock of their earlier albums in favour of the heavy metal direction also being explored by their sister group, Circle, at the time. The only member of the 2005 line-up of Circle who did not regularly feature on Pharaoh Overlord releases before this point, Mika Rättö, guests here making this a Circle album in all but name. Newcomer Jussi Kangas provides vocals and plays lead guitar.

This album also introduced a new band identity of Pharaoh Overlörd, influenced by the Amon Düül / Amon Düül II split. The metal-oriented Pharaoh Overlörd would release its next album in 2011, titled Out Of Darkness. Meanwhile, Pharaoh Overlord’s (without umlaut) next album was of abstract improvisation, Siluurikaudella.

Track List:
01 – Now We Know (4:22)
02 – Ridin’ (5:49)
03 – Secret Chamber (6:21)
04 – See Me Evil (6:18)
05 – Demons In The Rising Sun (6:07)
06 – Dark Side (8:32)

LineUp:
– Jussi Lehtisalo (bass, guitars, vocals)
– Tomi Leppänen (drums)
– Janne Westerlund (guitars)
– Jussi Kangas (guitars, vocals)
guests:
– Aki Peltonen, Mika Rättö, Ville Leinonen, Janne Tuomi.

Pharaoh Overlord – Live in Suomi Finland [2007]

Recorded 12.05.2006 at Kipsari , Helsinki, Finland.
Here’s the latest live album by Circle’s alter echo Pharaoh Overlord. The sound quality is a lot better than on their Battle of the Axehammer live, and as an extra feature this one has Faust’s Hans Joachim Irmler at least on synthesizer. The album was recorded in 12-5-2006 at Kipsari, Helsinki and is remixed by Irmler. There are five tracks on the CD and three of these have been released in different form on the previous albums. At first we got the familiar, mid-tempo riff monster ‘Black Horse’ that goes into psychedelic chaos. The guitars are really heavy and Irmler plays the synth. More or less the whole track is just one, really blasting riff. The next track… -full review at.. aural innovations & another review on… vivo records.
This is naturally a must-have for all the Pharaoh Overlord fans and why not also a good starting point to get introduced to the band!

Track List:
01 – Black Horse (10:54)
02 – Tutankharmony (7:45)
03 – Zero Gravity (6:28)
04 – Skyline (11:10)
05 – Mangrove (14:22)

with: Hans Joachim Irmler, Julius Jääskeläinen, Pekka Jääskeläinen,  Jussi Lehtisalo, Tomi Leppänen, Janne Westerlund.
Remixed by Hans Joachim Irmler. Premastered at Fauststudio Scheer-Germany.

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