Oldschool Sunday: PHARAOH

Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

What factors required for a band to qualify for the Oldschool Sunday series are malleable and always in flux; one week it might be a band’s longevity or legacy, the next week, a more obscure band from some point in time.

That said, the Philadelphia-born quartet PHARAOH was first activated in 1997 and, to this day, has always consisted of the same four folks: vocalist Tim Aymar, guitarist Matt Johnsen, drummer Chris Black, and bassist Chris Kerns. The foursome’s shared love of melodic heavy metal, like that of such bands as Saxon, Iron Maiden, and Rage, bound them together within PHARAOH.

In 2003, PHARAOH released their début studio album, ‘After The Fire‘, which instantly propelled the band into the lexicons of underground metal fans worldwide. Their approach to technically proficient, well-constructed, and expertly executed power metal was so stellar that it garnered PHARAOH recognition and respect with all the right people.

We have up-to-the-minute news about that début album, but more on that in a moment. In the years since its release, PHARAOH repeatedly delivered the goods on one incredible album after another, including ‘The Longest Night’ (2006), ‘Be Gone’ (2008), the ‘Ten Years’ EP (2011), and ‘Bury The Light’ (2012). Each of the albums was issued through Cruz Del Sur Music, who also included the band on the two-song ‘Tribute To Coroner’ split alongside Canvas Solaris in 2010.

Each album only added to the PHARAOH mythos and legend, their legacy more and more solidified with each new offering. In the two-plus decades that PHARAOH has been active, they have never officially disbanded or took on new membership. Instead, they committed themselves to release monumental opuses that have never failed to impress.

Sure, the quartet’s members have pursued outside projects and bands, the most recognizable perhaps was Tim Aymar‘s role as vocalist for Chuck Schuldiner’s Control Denied. Meanwhile, Matt Johnsen and Chris Kerns were both in Dawnbringer, and Chris Black has done time in Aktor, Professor Black, and Dawnbringer, among others.

Now, let’s get to the new news, shall we? Once again, PHARAOH and Cruz Del Sur Music are uniting to offer metal fans the first-ever vinyl LP re-issue of PHARAOH‘s all-important début, ‘After The Fire‘. Fifteen years after its original release, this classic recording will arrive on wax come August 31st, a TRUE must-have!


01. Unum
02. After The Fire
03. Flash Of The Dark
04. Forever Free
05. Heart Of The Enemy
06. Solar Flight
07. Now Is The Time
08. Never, Not Again

09. Slaves

Drummer Chris Black shared the following:

PHARAOH and Cruz Del Sur are still doing what we do, in our stubborn ways! How little has changed in this regard. I guess our producer and engineer Matt Crooks wasn’t yet on board, but otherwise with After The Fire, we have already included all of the same people and roles as we do today. I’m talking about the musicians/songwriters but also Enrico Leccese of Cruz Del Sur and JP Fournier, who has painted all of our album covers.

He continues: “Finally having After The Fire on vinyl will be great for our fans who cherish this format. It’s understandable that it didn’t happen in 2003, but as the years have passed and all of the other albums have been pressed on vinyl, it has become way overdue. But as it happens now, it’s a great way to say happy 15th birthday to the album and to Cruz Del Sur as well. A just reward for our continuity!

2018’s ‘After The Fire‘ Vinyl LP has been newly remastered and features updated artwork; the pre-order for it is active now at THIS LOCATION.

Make sure to watch out for a new studio album from PHARAOH in 2018, ‘The Powers That Be‘!

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