Review: Black Pyramid ‘The Paths of Time Are Vast’

At this point in my life, simultaneously watching time move at lightning speed, and trying to process where it goes, never fails to leave me all at once astonished, and slightly depressed with each passing year. For example, how could it be eleven years since Massachusetts, stoner-tinged, doom rumblers Black Pyramid released their much-lauded album Adversarial?

Black Pyramid 'The Paths of Time Are Vast' Artwork
Black Pyramid ‘The Paths of Time Are Vast’ Artwork

Well, unbelievably, it has been that long, and therefore the title of their long-awaited new album The Paths Of Time Are Vast feels appropriate. It seems the Covid years have altered everyone’s perception of time, and how we collectively flow through it, and it is with these thoughts careening through my mind, that I eagerly dove into the eight tracks on offer.

Opener, Bile, Blame And Blasphemy ever so slowly unfolds into the listener’s consciousness via some trippy, spacey guitar courtesy of vocalist and guitarist Andy Beresky, before the immense rhythm section of bassist Eric Beudry and drummer Andy Kivela drop the hammer with all the mass of a black hole. The massive riffage, and chest-caving rhythmic pummel pound along for a time-warping twelve-plus minute sonic journey, featuring all sorts of movements, deftly timed riff-changes along with rhythmic starts and stops, leaving no doubts that Black Pyramid is back.

However, we are just getting started as Beudry’s fuzzed-out, titanic bass tone introduces the towering The Crypt On The Borderlands wherein they expertly blend towering, fuzzy riffage and pummeling low-end with just enough melodic flashes that the listener is left with their jaw on the floor. To say the opening two tracks are as heavy and epic as anything I’ve heard thus far in 2024 would be an understatement.

The utterly amazing instrumental Astral Suicide follows, which serves as the perfectly sequenced aural palette-cleanser and is as cool of a spaced-out, psychedelic instrumental as one can hear on this plane of existence. A quote from The Chronicles of Riddick introduces the fuzzy, pummeling of Take Us To The Threshold which is a dizzying yet sublime heavy nod to the beloved sci-fi franchise, and consequently Black Pyramid again deliver an exercise in riffs, dynamism, tempo changes, sonic heft and melody.

they expertly blend towering, fuzzy riffage and pummeling low-end with just enough melodic flashes that the listener is left with their jaw on the floor…

The title track, The Paths of Time Are Vast, is split into three parts, with Part l, not surprisingly, beginning with a spacey, slow-build, before unfurling into Part ll, a fuzzed-out, swinging, affair that proceeds to gain steam, picking up the tempo as the track rolls along before circling back into the monolithic main riff. Part lll meanwhile is an ethereal, cosmic, effects-drenched affair, as all three musicians really shine throughout its gravity-warping build.

Closer, The Quantum Phoenix, proffers yet another slow-build, that opens into a cathartic, psychedelic pounder with hints of YOB and vintage Mastodon in the delivery, as Black Pyramid proceed to surf through their own sonic universe, featuring all sorts of twists and turns, and just as the listener thinks we are dropping into heavy prog territory, Beresky unleashes some serious riffage, coupled with the dizzying rhythmic pummel that carries the album to its conclusion.

The Paths Of Time Are Vast is a colossal, titanic record, that features so many layers, slow builds, and sounds that it took me a while to absorb it all. This is definitely not your average, run-of-the-mill, knuckle-dragging stoner rock or doom metal album. This a Herculean monstrous record that begs the listener to pay attention. I listened to it on headphones multiple times and heard different sounds with each spin.

I’d also add how evident it is that these musicians have not only been playing together for some time, but they obviously enjoy it. This album will undoubtedly wind up on many stoner rock and doom metal year-end lists, and rightfully so. It’s nice to have Black Pyramid back and I can emphatically endorse The Paths Of Time Are Vast.

Label: Totem Cat Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams