Album review: 7HY – Stories We Tell

Lion’s Pride Music [Release date 19.08.16]

When a band with history ends it is very tragic. Especially if the demise of that band involves an actual tragedy like illness or death. Under those circumstances a band is justified in moving on; attempting to carry on that legacy. Typically this causes dissension within the ranks of the fanbase, but you have to look at it from the perspective that this is their livelihood, this how these musicians earn the money that pays the bills. Other times a band will decide that once an integral original member has passed on it is time to shelve that band, allowing the legacy that stands to speak for itself. Just as the cliché says, when one door shuts another one opens, and this is the case with the band Shy who after almost 30 years of creating some of the best AOR/melodic hard rock, suffered the loss of original guitarist Steve Harris, thus ending the band. Instead of resting on the proverbial laurels, former Shy member Alan Kelly decided to persevere on and create his own band called Seven Hard Years, using the acronym 7HY (which appears to be an homage to his former band if you look at the logo.) In all fairness, Kelly had been out of the band since 2002, but the narrative still holds.

As a long time Shy fan I was intrigued to check these guys out, and their debut album, 2014’s No Place In Heaven certainly filled the void left by Shy. They’re back now with their follow-up called Stories We Tell, and are solidifying their place in the pantheon of excellent melodic hard rock. The majority of the music is provided by Kelly, supplying guitar, drums, keyboards, and a good amount of bass, while the vocals are performed by Livesay/Final Sign vocalist Shawn Pelata. There are several guest appearances including Dave Martin of Marshall Law supplying some guitar. Though 7HY and Shy share members and a common genre, beyond that 7HY manages to carry on where Shy left off without being a carbon copy. Yes, the songs are deeply rooted in the same melodic world, yet they’re delivered in a much heavier way without going totally metal. Tracks like “Break the Spell,” “Only Human,” “Don’t Believe A Word,” and “I’ve Been Waiting” have immense potential to propel this band far if they can just catch that wave into superstardom.

If melodic hard rock is your thing, especially delivered with a bit more oomph, 7HY’s Stories We Tellmay very well be the album you have been waiting for. It hits all of the key points I look for in a new band/release: excellent musicians, fantastic singer, and outstanding songs. 7HY hit it on every point, and hit it out of the park. This could be a sleeper hit this year. ****

Review by Chris Martin

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