Seven Kingdoms - The fire is mine 4.5/5

Reviewed: 11-1-12





Tracklist:

1. Beyond the wall
2. After the fall
3. Forever brave
4. Flame of olympus
5. Symphony of stars
6. The fire is mine
7. Kardia
8. Fragile minds collapse
9. In the twisted twilight
10. A debt paid in steel
11. The king in the north


The 3rd time is the charm for this Florida band, as this CD improves all the strengths of this bandís prior offerings, and wipes away all the limitations, with a production thatís finally deserving of their great work.

From a musical overview, objectively the band should appeal to the fans of the mighty Sinergy, with the glorious and beautiful vocals of Sabrina Valentine woven over a tight, sharp, and entertaining musical metal assault. It is essential to any fans of pure power metal who enjoy slightly operatic vocals, and that much more critical for fans of the fantasy spectrum and George R.R. Martinís Saga of Fire and Ice in general. The bandís first 2 CDs were quite good, but hampered by a limited production, and this CD not only remedies that with a sharp, sensational sound, but every aspect of the songwriting and musicianship is refined as well, and the whole result is breathtaking.

Sabrinaís vocals are the starting focus for the emotional songs, with a beautiful delivery that fits somewhere between the great Tarja on the more ethereal side and Kimberly Gossí slightly more down-to-earth zone. Between contralto and mezzo-soprano to my ears, but whatever it is, it is beautifully done, and with aching emotion that is well suited to the lyrics and subject matter. The metal music burning beneath Sabrinaís voice is exquisite in its own power, the rhythm guitars of Kevin Bird and Camden Cruz are impeccable, with a devastating array of crisp and precise riffing which drives the listener and the songs with perfectly synchronized aggression, palm muted galloping and left-hand movement that would make Jon Schaffer proud. In glorious contrast, the guitaristís leads are a sublime collection of compelling, beautiful melodies, played with deft finesse and style, that bring to the fore all we love about Maidenesque dual guitar interplay. Kevinís brother Keith on drums and Aaron Sluss on bass provide the rest of the precise percussive tempo, alternating effectively between the rapid fire burners and the more delicate tracks. In other words, itís pretty much all you could ask for in a power metal CD, and yet it manages to still sound fresh and not just an iterative exercise in a 30-year-old genre.

While itís not necessary to be a fantasy fan or a reader or viewer of the Game of Thrones saga, those that are will receive even more enjoyment and emotion from the lyrics, most of which cover the saga of the bandís namesake. The title track is the soul searing caamora of Daenerys at Dragoís funeral pyre, but it seems as a light hearted romp when compared to the CDís closing track, ďThe king in the northĒ, which portrays one of the most wrenching and agonizing moments of literature, the red wedding. ďAfter the fallĒ covers Branís escape into the north, but would still be an emotional anthem even if you know nothing of that fallen child and all these other characters. The lyrics arenít completely limited to Martinís work, as ďFlame of olympusĒ touches on Sonyís God of War video game saga, while the most delicate track of the CD, ďKardiaĒ is about the emotional 2006 film. I hope fans of the Martin books and show will be encouraged to hear a band they might not otherwise have heard, because I canít imagine they would be disappointed.



CRAIG




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