7th Reign - s/t 4/5
1. Till the end
4. Dark of the sun
6. By way of deception
7. Lady Babylon
As far as quality, 2007 has been an unusual year for me. Rather than the historically best and popular bands providing the excellent CDs, it's been the more obscure bands that have surprised me. CDs from Keldian, Destination's Calling, Wildpath and Endless have stood out the most this year, and although 7th Reign's 's/t' debut isn't quite up to the level of those CDs, it's definitely one that can be added to the list.
7th Reign is from Canada and features bassist Adrian Robichaud from Eidolon, along with vocalist Brian Soulard, who was with Eidolon until their 2001 CD 'Hallowed apparition'. Guitarist Marios Panayiotis and drummer Niall Mellors (who are both unknown to me) finish off the band's line-up, but there are some keyboards (more on that later) provided by Johny Leeson, who is listed as a guest musician.
7th Reign's 's/t' CD is one that won't provide you with a sound that's never been heard before, but it is a CD that's very well done for its style. Definitely power metal, reminding me mostly of Metalium, Jag Panzer, Wolfcry, Eidolon (obviously) and Brainstorm. Yeah, these bands are all different, but throw them all in a blender and you'll end up with a strong dose of 7th Reign.
Thankfully, fantastic guitar solos are frequent and the CD is mostly a fast-paced affair, featuring a superb drumming performance from Niall. Both track 1 "Till the end" and track 2 "Defied" are immediately impressive, as their upbeat pace, riffs and crunchiness will surely grab those who like their power metal on the heavier side (less "happy"). Track 4 "Dark of the sun", the fairly crunchy track 5 "Asylum" and track 7 "Lady Babylon" all have speedy parts too, leaving only the slow-paced track 3 "Believe", the powerful track 6 "By way of deception" (which is extremely bouncy/catchy and the best on the CD!) and the final track "Executioner" (which is a great instrumental) without a good amount of speed.
So the majority of the CD is uptempo and it's probably the key to its quality, as slow and extra-heavy usually isn't a good combination. From my experience with Eidolon, they've always been a bit too dry and even a little on the boring side. Sure, they've got some great songs, but overall, I think 7th Reign's 's/t' is much more exciting. So if you've recently shelled your Eidolon collection (from disappointment), don't be quick to count 7th Reign out!
In addition to the base style of heavier power metal, keyboards (previously mentioned) are present. I find that they add just a little something special to the CD, as they're not dominant at all, and instead remain in the background and give off an ever-so-slight symphonic feel. They're somewhat upfront on the spectacular track 6 "By way of deception" I previously labeled the best on the CD, but this is such a killer song and I forsee a number of you headbanging to it within the first minute!
Ok, on to the vocals, which I feel are one of the most positive aspects of the CD. While Brian seemed to have more of a monotonous tone in his experience with Eidolon, he's so much better here, as he really stretches his range, attempting to match Metalium's Henning Bass. Seriously, he's got such an awesome voice and it's the vocals that tie everything together on this CD.
I have a feeling that many of you are going to really like this CD, and although it's at an excellent level, I think the band will provide an even better 2nd CD. There are no areas that need fixin', it's just a matter of producing more songs as great as "By way of deception", though I must emphasize that I like all of the songs on this CD. So popularity doesn't always mean high quality, and 2007 is perfect proof. Definitely a buy or die folks!
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