Sunday, May 28, 2017

Seven Kingdoms – Decennium

Seven Kingdoms is a band that falls into the rare category of being an American band that plays a more European style of power metal. Historically, there haven’t been too many bands from the US that can keep up with their European or even South American brethren, but Seven Kingdoms definitely shows a lot of potential with their fourth album “Decennium”. The defining feature of this band is the wailing of lead vocalist Sabrina Valentine. Though she can hit some pretty high notes, she switches back and forth between a more restrained, upper-mid range, and truly powerful high-pitched vocals. This versatility is best displayed on the album’s lead track: “Stargazer”, where the verses tend to be tamer, while the choruses are definitely more energetic. As catchy as the chorus is for this song, its whoa-oh sections bear an incredibly strong resemblance to Edguy’s in the chorus of “Sabre & Torch”. Nevertheless, this is a memorable song that gets the album off to a strong start.

As the album soldiers on, the band shows that they have some thrashy roots in them. The riffing in “Undying”, for example, definitely comes from a more aggressive place than you might expect on a power metal album. Many other tracks display a similar ferocity in their approach, replicating the feel of some of the heavier tracks on Gamma Ray’s “Land of the Free” and “Somewhere Out In Space”. Aside from this, Seven Kingdoms sticks to a lot of techniques that work well in power metal. Their music is extraordinarily guitar focused, with flashy solos, harmonized guitars, and plenty of lead melodies. The drumming keeps pace, particularly on the more upbeat songs where it primarily focuses on quick thrash beats to keep the energy high.

Decennium” ultimately works well because of the band’s strong songwriting. The melodies and riffs are cohesive with little disjointedness, allowing the vocals to soar. Tracks like “In The Walls” and “Kingslayer” are easy singalong anthems, and though they might not necessarily reach the levels of the power metal gods they worship, they’re incredibly professional sounding. The band could benefit from cutting a track or two. There isn’t a specifically weak outlier, but Seven Kingdoms is definitely able to get their point across in a shorter time. Regardless, “Decennium” is an enjoyable power metal release that shows that American bands can definitely compete with many of their European counterparts!

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"In The Walls"

Final Rating
4.1/5 or 82%. 

Written by Scott

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