Pyramids Pyramids

[Hydra Head; 2008]

Styles: I was wondering when a black-metal band would delve even further into Animal Collective territory…
Others: Wolves In The Throne Room, {Low Level Owl}-era Appleseed Cast

Pyramids' self-titled album on Hydra Head is so closely linked -- in my mind, at least -- to the cycles associated with deep-sleep dreams that I can't separate the two. If anything, this 10-song platter is the unwitting soundtrack to a dream: It emerges from the black slowly, winds into a climax, fades away, and when you’re done you can only remember sketchy details.

Come to think of it, Pyramids would serve as a helluva soundtrack to a dream I once had, a lucid dream around age 10 wherein I woke up within the dream, realized I was in a dream, and acted accordingly. Super accordingly. Enjoy ...

1. “Sleds” -- This angelic white-wash of echo-'d Panda Bear chants, drifting-cloud atmospherics, and guitar drone perfectly accompanies the first moments of my lucid dream. At this point, I was just sussing out the strange situation unfolding in the back of my subconscious; was I awake, was I asleep? It took me a minute to figure it all out, and thusly "Sleds" serves as the sound of Pyramids figuring itself out; where it wants to go, how it wants to proceed from here. For what amounts to an intro track, it's encouraging as hell, as was my realization that I could do anything I wanted and not face the consequences. Hooray.
2. “Igloo” -- The serene feeling of waking up in a dream doesn't last long; almost immediately, it dawned on me that I needed to get shit done before I woke up. “Igloo,” after a dead-on ape of the intro to Floyd’s “See Emily Play,” thrashes to life even more violently, cresting the line between chaos and order, blurriness, and, not-so-ironically, lucidity. The blast beats drill into the brain like those giant chrome machines in the Matrix movies that could burrow through the earth and back, and I can't think of a better accompaniment to breaking into a pawn shop, stealing a gun, and jumping into the back of a moving pick-up, which is what I did in the dream once I understood the significance of this gleaming opportunity.
3. “The Echo of Something Lovely” -- At this point in my dream, I was starting to wonder if my dream was really a dream at all; I was weary of the possibility that my mind was playing tricks on me and that, if it was, I was about to commit very real crimes against humanity. “The Echo of Something Lovely” is even more confused than I was; it doesn't know if it wants to be a droner, a tinkler, a chanter like “Sleds,” or a rager, so it sort of does it all over the course of three lovely minutes. Seeing as I was holding a loaded gun and pointing it at the driver of a pick-up while sitting on the side of the bed as a random dream-girl (literally) watched, it would have taken three lovely minutes for me to get arrested for this kind of behavior in real life. But, you know, dream...
4. “End Resolve” -- As the double-bass-ing of “End Resolve” combines with fey breathes and several guitars -- like an army of Striborgs -- I, in the dream, am instructing the driver of this random pick-up truck to take me to a bank, the biggest in town. I am acting violent and crazy, because I figure in dreams I'm supposed to act like criminals do in the movies. The near-soprano, Sigur Rós-y vocals mimic the voices in my head at this point in the dream, the ones that are asking me, “Why is this the first thing you want to do now that you have complete and total freedom? What's wrong with you?” Good point, wish I could help ya bud.
5. “Hellmonk” -- Chaos. We're almost to the bank and, being a young, curious, 10-YEAR-OLD BOY, I jumped out of the truck, forgetting to ask the driver to politely stay put so’s to help me make my getaway. I run into the bank anyway, and it’s just like in the movies; that urgency is reflected tenfold on “Hellmonk,” a runaway train that’s never comin’ back. I scream at the teller to throw me a big bag of cash and, strangely, she seems to have one waiting underneath the counter. I feel triumphant, like I just swatted my old boss’ face with a sack of nickels. The large sack even has a large money sign on it. I run outside to make my getaway...
6. “This House is Like Any Other World” -- ...and find myself standing alone on a completely empty street, looking around in horror for a sign of life. “This House is Like Any Other World” contains the echo-driven horror of this realization of being completely alone, stranded in the middle of a downtown no more lifelike than a model airplane. As I start to run down the sidewalk in desperation, the rapid-tap snares match my footsteps, the multi-layered arrangements mimicking the chaos in my head as I slowly rouse from what was the biggest trip in my life up to that point.

And that’s where the dream ends, and, ultimately, where the review ends, for better or worse. Sweet dreams.

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