Frontiers [Release date 28.02.20]
If only all concept albums were like this one…bittersweet melodic metal anthems liberally laced with apocalyptic metal tragedy. It’s such an accomplished piece of music that it belies the fact it is only the US band Seven Spires’ second recording.
And the concept? Well, the Kraken on the front cover is something of a clue, though the lyrics meander through the floridly poetic ‘No Words Exchanged’ to the amusingly philosophic ‘The Trouble With Eternal Life” without looking seaward.
In between, the music too covers a lot of territory. The band like to marry celtic flutes and percussion to traditional Eastern European music. Opening duo, ‘Igne Defendi’ and ‘Ghost Of A Dream’ could have stepped straight out of a Hans Zimmer or a James Horner movie soundtrack. The melodic core of these tracks – as in many movie scores – will be a recurring theme through the album. They are like little pockets of sound, gliding ghostlike through the recording – musical, catchy – a thread of electronic breadcrumbs, encouraging us to follow the trail.
‘Unmapped Darkness’ is unarguably the albums most theatrical piece. Annette Cowan’s voice swoops and soars all over this cinematic rock song. Her tough as teak mezzo soprano entertainingly trades vocal licks with her alter ego’s gritty growl, like Belle and The Beast fighting over Gaston.
Similarly on ‘Succumb’. Her vocal dexterity is easy to take for granted. She isn’t showy. She reaches for high notes and she grabs them with both hands and caresses them into our consciousness. Where they stay.
Elsewhere, the choral moodiness of ‘Drowner Of World’s’ and ‘Fearless” frame gutteral growls inside more spinetingling, Zimmer-esque widescreen orchestration. Perhaps more than any other track, they illustrate producer Sascha Paeth’s dazzling musical invention, showing us that Symphonic Metal doesn’t need to be just a surfeit of BPMs tied to a shipload of bombast.
And these songs have such memorable choruses. ‘Silvery Moon’ and ‘With Love From The Other Side’ creep up on you, and before you realise, they’ve sunk their hooks in deep.
This is the kind of symphonic metal that many bands aspire to… well written songs coated with a colourful veneer of grandeur, occasionally unconventional, and always memorably melodic.
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 March 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GARY HUGHES Decades (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 METALITE A Virtual World (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 KAT DANSER One Eye Open (indie)
Power Plays w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
ALTZI Point Of No Return (RA Music)
DIRTY LACES Breathe (Golden Robot Records)
ASHEN MOON Ashen Moon (Golden Robot Records)
ANDREWW Shadow Love (indie)
JORDAN RED Freak Show (indie)
HAYES & Y Empty Orchestra (indie)
KELSEY BOVEY Another World (indie)
NEPTUNE RAIN We Breathe The Same (indie)
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