Seven Kingdoms come at a fast pace with their fourth studio release, ‘Decennium’, as a follow up to their 2012 ‘The Fire is Mine’! Their last offering was such a splendid surprise, truly opening this act up to great recognition in the metal community. The band, from Florida, have been pumping out impressive works since 2007, with a familiar yet quite original type of sound. One could consider it to be sort of a cross between Nightwish and Sonata Arctica, which feels odd even saying it, but they really seem to be creating a genuinely brilliant discography. Many of their songs and themes come from the amazing world of George R.R. Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ book series. Camden Cruz and Kevin Byrd manning guitars, Aaron Sluss on bass, Keith Byrd slams the drums, and Sabrina Valentine and her masterful vocals return to the fold for this occasion, as well. How does it all come across, this time?
Be glad that we have another great release on our hands, ‘Decennium’ begins with six near-flawless tracks to kick us off. Every moment in this front half is delivered with the same technical guitar work and complex transitions as found in 2012’s ‘The Fire is Mine’. ‘Stargazer’ powers you through such a terrific opening to a power metal album that puts your mind at ease of how real metal should be produced. ‘Undying’ sounds just as powerful as some of the more impressive tracks found just five years prior. ‘In the Walls’ is likely the most KILLER cut available on this album as well as a potential dart thrown in the “Best of 2017” board. The transitions are smoldering hot while Sabrina’s vocals are out of this world! I love the key changes and range presented in this one.
‘The Tale of Deathface Ginny’ is such a powerful track that leads perfectly into ‘Castles in the Snow’ and ‘Kingslayer’. These hits show off how power metal should be done for the foreseeable future. Just enough classic sound and modern edginess to pull everything together. Seven Kingdoms do this better than just about anyone! Only a few tracks remain in ‘Decennium’… how can they keep this momentum going? Unfortunately, that’s where we hit a slight bump…
The remaining four tracks are honestly decent, but show a severe drop in quality going towards the end of ‘Decennium’. I wouldn’t say anything really negative other than each of these offerings being very filler-like and nothing memorable truly stands out. ‘The Faceless Hero’, ‘Neverending’, ‘Hollow’, and ‘Awakened from Nothing’ are fine tracks, but bring the overall feel of this 2017 release from “Epic” to slightly less than. These four songs bring a remarkable win streak to a somewhat disappointing end.
Each of the first six tracks come across as very precise and energetic. If we were only talking about the front half of this release, I would say this is easily an album of the year candidate. Even with this shortcoming; Seven Kingdoms have added yet another strong showing into their growing discography that places them easily alongside their brethren power metal acts like Blind Guardian, Serenia and classic Battle Beast. Highly recommended US power metal, overall!
Review by Joshua Jaeger
5th May 2017
3) In the Walls
4) The Tale of Deathface Ginny
5) Castles in the Snow
7) The Faceless Hero
10) Awakened from Nothing
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...they really seem to be creating a genuinely brilliant discography."