"The Paths of Time Are Vast" (Totem Cat; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The best way to describe Black Pyramid's "The Paths of Time Are Vast" is to use the word epic. Most of the tracks are lengthy (the longest running at 15:58), and they run at ... well, not always a slow pace, but often a deliberate pace. Black Pyramid is a doom band so the music is heavy, the type of heavy you can feel in your gut. It's relentless and crushing and nearly pummels you into submission with its darkness. The lyrical complexity is best evidenced by some of the song titles: "Bile, Blame and Blasphemy," "Astral Suicide," "Take Us to the Threshold." The title track is told in three parts, the first of which runs at 1:54 and is more of an intro to the following longer tracks, weighing in at 8:09 and 10:42. They tie together as segments should, each delivering another chapter of the trilogy's story. The final track, "The Quantum Phoenix," is just as heavy and crushing as the earlier tracks but adds a layer of atmospheric sound that holds your interest for its entire 15-minute-plus running time. (If they ever make another "Heavy Metal" movie, this track has got to be included!)

According to The Times Literary Supplement (London), the definition of "epic" is "extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope." Based on that definition and the music found on hereon, "The Paths of Time are Vast" is truly epic.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.