Following up on the two previous albums from Pyramids On Mars, “Edge of the Black” was written, composed and performed solely by Keven Estrella who cites influences from musical greats including J.S Bach and Antonio Vivaldi with today’s guitar virtuosos Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani. Edge of Black pays homage to these artists while still maintaining Estrella’s own creative flair.
Estrella shares his thoughts on the album:
On Edge of The Black, I wanted to put emphasis on songwriting and telling a story. The emphasis is not just on the lead guitar melody, but on the band as a whole. Harmonic variations on repeating themes are strongly utilized; like rhyming phrases in spoken language that allows easier accurate retelling of the original story. This idea of repeating music phrases/themes so the audience can easily recall it and hum it all the way home.
Full of determination and talent, Estrella compares his music to that of Satriani and Rush. In his own words:
I honestly think ‘Edge of the Black’ will do for this decade what Joe Satriani’s ‘Surfing With The Alien’ did for instrumental rock back in the ’80s. It captures the same passion, energy, and melodic hooks, yet it has an updated sound. It is no secret I am heavily influenced by the band Rush. They are a part of my circuitry.
Edge of the Black will be released on December 21st 2019.
Keven Estrella is nothing if not confident in just what he has produced here and for good reason. Edge of the Black is all about him and what he can do with a guitar.
Completely instrumental, to tell a story that is coherent and cognitive is no easy task but thankfully his talents are more than up to the task. Of course it requires a certain amount of patience from the listener and if guitar heavy instrumental music isn’t to your taste then you’re likely to find yourself struggling with this one.
What we have here is over 50 minutes of intensive guitar playing that holds the attention by being layered with varied tempos, melodies and hooks. It’s not guitar ‘wankery’ as it isn’t always pushed front and centre. An early good example of this the bouncy industrial-ness of Nacht Waffen.
Elsewhere the frantic energy of F-22 Raptor brings the guitar squeals. Mercury Magnetar is deliciously old school rock mellowness that is almost akin to a ballad. Whereas Time to Believe is incredibly pretty and very up-lifting.
In fact, almost the entirety of Edge of the Black has the ability to lift you up as you listen. Heavy footsteps feel that little lighter and the shoulders become less slumped. It’s an encouraging listen and Keven Estrella can be proud of what he has achieved here.
Pyramids on Mars – Edge of the Black Full Track Listing:
1. Blood Moon
2. Nacht Waffen
3. Song of Light
4. F-22 Raptor
5. The Ambassador
6. Mercury Magnetar
7. Arcturian Rain
8. Time to Believe
9. Arioso Lullaby
10. Whale Song
Pyramids On Mars - Edge of The Black (Self Released)
The Final Score - 8/10