US band SEVEN SPIRES was formed back in 2013, revolving around the creative pair of Adrienne Cowan and Jack Kosto. Following an initial EP they are set to release their debut album “Solveig” in early August 2017, and in the at times intricate world of contemporary music business my understanding is that the album is self-released, but distributed through German company SAOL (Service for Artist Owned Labels).
If one should summarize this album, then symphonic metal would be the shortest and most appropriate manner in which to do so. The orchestration is a rather constant feature, both in full orchestra mode as well as in more delicate orchestral details, and there’s no denying that metal is at the core of just about everything here, with a slight dominance towards hammering, galloping power metal excursions at that. As with many other good albums there is a bit more to it than just that of course.
Besides the presumed conceptual nature of this album, vocals is a key and important feature. Front woman Cowan is an able and versatile vocalist, able to deliver careful and atmospheric singing, more powerful and subtly operatic oriented escapades, but also angry snarls and suitably menacing growls when needed. As a vocalist she is a mini-ensemble turned into one person, and from what I can hear in total control all the way through in all the modes as well.
And while symphonic metal sums up the music, and power metal is a steadily recurring aspect of the metal part of that, there are also parts and passages closer to regular heavy metal, on an occasion or two even with a slight nod in the direction of hair metal to my ears, although that might as well have been accidental. What isn’t accidental at all, in my opinion, are the majestic, monumental passages where intense guitars and menacing orchestration assemble in monumentally bleak escapades of the kind that for me at least brings Dimmu Borgir to mind. That some of the songs also feature chorus sections or transitions that gives me distinct associations towards musicals, and that the album feature two mainly classical symphonic tracks of the kind that comes with a movie score feel will, hopefully, say something about the diversity of this production. And as an open question, did my mind play tricks on me when I thought I heard a nod in the direction of the score for Disney’s Aladdin on the cut Closure? As a mystical orchestral arrangement of the kind that is meant to bring the mind associations towards Middle Eastern sounds is a key part of that song, that might also be an accidental little detail. I also note that the concluding strictly symphonic cut Reflections opens with an orchestral version of the theme from the previous cut, and while I did not actually check, my feeling was that this composition does, indeed, reflect, and then possibly back on the rest of the album in reverse order of the track list. I might be in error there, but the intense feeling of closure this concluding piece gives indicates to my mind that something of a similar nature plays out there.
Those who like their symphonic metal to be an orchestrated power metal onslaught might not want to approach this album. But those with a taste for music of this kind developed and performed with a more sophisticated approach should find this album strongly appealing. A production that possibly includes direct nods towards musicals, classical symphonic compositions and film scores in addition to the regular orchestral overlays, and with a canvas that on the metal side includes and incorporate elements from heavy metal and black metal into a power metal context. If this is a description that comes across as tantalizing, Seven Spires full length debut “Solveig” is one you should take note of.
My rating: 9/10
The Siren, Encounter, The Siren (Reprise), The Cabaret of Dreams, Choices, Closure, 100 Days, Stay, The Paradox, Serenity, Depths, Distant Lights, Burn, Ashes, Reflections