(Comrade Aleks has spoken with Andy Beresky of Black Pyramid, and in this post he summarizes what he learned about the past, the present, and the future of the band.)
The original lineup of that famous Massachusetts-based stoner doom band is Eric Beaudry (bass), Clay Neely (drums), and Andy Beresky (guitars, vocals). Eric managed to record the EP Black Pyramid in 2008 with the guys and then quit the band. However, one of those two songs recorded with him (“Visions of Gehenna”) was included in Black Pyramid’s self-titled debut LP in 2009 where Dave Gein took bass-guitarist duties.
This nine-track-long album pulled a lot of attention with slow, classic doom stoner chords, distorted riffs, and Andy’s raw and clean vocals. Despite the very traditional material the band wrote for this album, the feedback was warm and enthusiastic, and that’s easy to explain because the songs deliver catchiness, energy, and a sincere approach. You’ll find on the album fast tracks performed at nearly attacking speed (“No Life King”), mid-paced stoner songs (like “Twilight Grave”), a short melancholic acoustic composition (“Celephais”) ,and just tons of proper killer riffs.
Meanwhile, Andy Beresky reveals the quintessence of Black Pyramid:
“There are three manifestations of the black pyramid that are especially important. The first are the UFO’s that were seen, shaped like black pyramids… There are many, many objects that fly through our skies and personal spaces each and every day, and the vast majority of them are unidentified. Does this mean that aliens exist? No. They could be birds, they could be planes, they could be supermen. Instead, they are unidentified, and we have to accept that. UFO’s are the unknown, and we fear the unknown. We all fear this aspect of the black pyramid.
“The second is the LSD of the same name. Black Pyramid was very much about a divergent, convergent, emergent consciousness. It is all about being conscious of the true self and the true will, as Crowley, LaVey, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and countless others have thought through the ages. All avatars, seekers, teachers, preachers, poets, lunatics and lovers throughout space and time have believed in the power of the human consciousness. The potential of the human imagination is truly infinite, and the paths to the true consciousness are also infinite.
“The third is the legendary black pyramid in Egypt, so called because it fell into ruin. It was meant to withstand the ages, to be a testament to immortality, but it was made of clay and mud, and it fell into ruin. The only thing which is immortal is change itself. Ironically, the Greek symbol for change was the letter Delta, which is a triangle, a pyramid reduced to two dimensions. Anyone who has studied Calculus or physics is no doubt familiar with the symbol Delta”.
Black Pyramid – Cauldron Born
As a result, Black Pyramid’s music tends to be dark and menacing. Black Pyramid’s lyrics are about using stories and mythologies as metaphors for inner conflict. Nothing is literal there; everything is allegory. When Andy sings about wars, horrors, and violence, he doesn’t talk about the external world, he talks about what’s inside of him. Andy explains:
“I believe that dark emotions can be really energizing if channeled and utilized properly, so I tend to draw on the raw, primal pain and anger… I’m a pacifist — I believe we should strive for peace, and that violence only creates more violence. This doesn’t mean that I necessarily feel inner peace and serenity all the time, and the lyrics are an outlet for when I’m not feeling it. The words are cathartic, a way for me to purge my various inner demons. They’re in no way meant to glorify or dignify war, atrocity or violence”.
Black Pyramid – Illumination
After the release of the debut full-length the band took part in split albums with Old One (2010) and Tenspeed Warlock (2011) and also did two vinyl singles, Mercy’s Bane (2011), Stormbringer (2011) and the great compilation Stormbringer, which collects all the out-of-print vinyl-only tracks like “Stormbringer”, “Cloud of Unknowing”, “Illumination”, “Warswine”, “Macedonia”, and “Caravan”. That is a collection of really great tracks, so Hydro-Phonic Records made the right decision to release it – thank you there!
Black Pyramid – Into the Dawn
Black Pyramid’s second LP II was already finished when Andy Beresky quit the band due to personal crisis and later returned to his previous band Palace in Thunderland. The remaining band members decided to go on and invited Darryl Shepard to play on further shows and records.
So after the split-album with Swedish sludgy band Odyssey released in the same year, Black Pyramid recorded their third big album Adversarial with Darryl on vocals and guitars that were unexpectedly swift. It’s shorter than the previous full-length records – just 38 minutes long — and it’s obviously harsher. Simply to say, that was another Black Pyramid. The opening song “Swing the Scimitar” starts with modern-sounding riffs and Darryl’s brutal vocals; it’s unusual, it’s hard, and it rocks! At the same time, this nearly 12-minute-long composition has its picturesque psychedelic side, and don’t forget those dangerous riffs.
“Bleed Out” is reminiscent of the old Pyramid, but once again the vocals and guitars differ, and it’s obvious that both are performed by another person.
Black Pyramid – Swing the Scimitar
Andy admitted that when his friend played it for him in his car without telling him what it was, and he didn’t know that it was a Black Pyramid record, he just asked who it was, and when the friend told him, that came as a surprise. That’s his opinion about the album:
“I feel that they made the best record that they could as a band at that point in time, and you can’t take that away from them. Through my actions, I’d left them in a tough position, and they made the best of the situation. Obviously, things were going to sound differently. Many people love and even prefer that record to the previous ones, and I feel like that speaks for itself”.
It was a surprise for everyone, even for everyone in Black Pyramid, but in 2016 Eric and Andy had been chatting and ended up joking around that it would be cool to do some local and Northeast shows with the original lineup. Andy later talked with Clay, and pretty much the exact same sentiments came up, though this time it was a bit more serious. So it seemed like it was on all of their minds.
They kept talking about doing it, and eventually it started looking like more and more of a reality. After the run of shows went well, their plan is to do this on a permanent, though part-time, basis. They are playing a local festival in the summer of 2016 and started writing new material for another record. Dave Gein and Darryl Shepard are focused on their band The Scimitar.
Andy lays down his cards:
“Prior to my leaving, I was writing and working on material for a split 12″ with Clay, our drummer, and it was landing in an even more psychedelic and atmospheric direction than the songs on II. I won’t speak for him, though it seemed like a really daunting task to me personally, choosing that direction given the current makeup of the band, and it was one of the many reasons I chose to bow out at that time. Based on the song that Eric and I have worked on since our reformation, I’d say that any newer material is going to have a rawer sound than II, and also more atmospheric, though not at all like Adversarial. Nothing like that, it’s not the same band”.