7 Seals - Moribund 4/5

Reviewed: 8-22-08





Tracklist:

1. Prologue
2. To forests wild and free
3. Treasure of the elder
4. Unforeseen alliance
5. The isle of fire and ice
6. Fortune and deceit
7. Prelude to perdiction
8. A fateful conspiracy
9. Farewell
10. A gift of the nymph
11. The fierce king of the Huns
12. Moribund
13. Epilogue


7 Seals is a new band from Germany and 'Moribund' is their full-length debut. As you could probably guess by the cover artwork, they're a symphonic power metal band and 'Moribund' is a concept album, based on one of the most significant heroic epics of the late Middle Ages (Das Nibelungenlied). Although the band isn't directly comparable to one band, they definitely belong in the circle that contains Rhapsody of Fire, Six Magics, Thy Majestie, Derdian, Seyminhol, Divinefire, Ekzistencia, Final Chapter, Bride Adorned, Holy Knights, Kyrie Eleison and Masterpiece.

One thing that surprised me right from the start with 'Moribund' is that it has a tremendously powerful production, something that really enhances the quality of symphonic power metal CDs. It's an epic and somewhat intense CD, with lots of pounding and catchy riffs, but it isn't as bombastic as what you'd expect from Rhapsody of Fire and some of the other aforementioned bands. 7 Seals does a great job of not taking any aspect of their music over the top, and the CD can be listened to at any given time, regardless of what type of mood I might be in. The CD is decently long (just over 60 minutes), but there are many twists and turns, its quality is consistent, and overall it flows very well. There's also a nice balance of slow, mid-paced and fast-paced songs, and this well-executed balance of tempo is also a bit surprising, as this is only the band's debut.

Vocally, 7 Seals features Markus Wagner, who has a fairly low voice and he's probably most comparable to Matt Barlow of Iced Earth fame (when Matt is at his clearest and less rough/aggressive), so don't expect a high-pitched vocalist like what we get from most of the Italian bands previously mentioned. There's quite a bit of "guest" female vocals present, by Sabrina Grochocki of the new symphonic/gothic/power metal band Stormgarde, who is currently getting ready to release their full-length debut 'The answer'. Unlike Markus, Sabrina does have a high voice, though it's not of the soprano/operatic type. The 2 vocalists fit together very well, and just like the CD's musical side, the vocal side is well balanced.

I don't have any absolute-favorite songs from 'Moribund', but at the same time, there aren't any songs that I don't like. Really, this is a consistently strong CD and an excellent start for the band. There are a handful of promising symphonic power metal bands right now (Masterpiece, Kyrie Eleison, Ekzistencia, etc.), and 7 Seals can definitely be added to the list, as they're easily competitive in the style and already have all of the ingredients in place to improve even more. So watch out for this band and know that 'Moribund' is highly recommended to fans of symphonic power metal!



CLINT




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