In a scene “dominated by backing tracks and bad haircuts”, 5 piece Reading band Pharaoh attempts to create an authentic experience with their gritty new EP Bear, released in September of 2012. Hailing Underoath, Every Time I Die and The Mars Volta as their biggest influences for the EP, Pharaoh manages to take those influences and use them in their own way, instead of just regurgitating things that those bands have already done.
Pharaoh starts out with the heavy guitar-driven track Devolver that showcases their technical skill from the guitar and bass sections straight out of the gate. This tight technical performance is a trait that permeates every track even though one of the things you will notice about this band is their ability to deliver a “live” performance through their recordings. “Live” meaning that every raw aspect you hear, from the trembles in the vocals to the snarls in the riffs sound exactly like it probably does at a live show. The first three tracks of the EP – Devolver, Medicine Show and Coming Up for Air – all bring out this aspect of Pharaoh’s sound and its really rare that a younger band can harness that raw energy in a recording so early on. It’s unpolished and gritty but still sounds amazing and intentional. The EP closes with Darkness Will Prevail, This track evokes a The Mars Volta/Emery vibe with frontman John Childs notably somber vocals and seething guitars in this mournful soliloquy. This will definitely be a band to watch as they grow as artists – 2013 will no doubt be a good year for Pharaoh if their up-coming full-length album (due out early 2013) is anywhere near as good as this EP.