Review of Seven Kingdoms “Decennium”: Some Of The Best European Power Metal Now Comes From Florida

Seven Kingdoms is:

Sabrina Valentine – Vocals
Camden Cruz – Guitar
Kevin Byrd – Guitar
Keith Byrd – Drums
Aaron Sluss – Bass

Fans of European style Power Metal have a lot to look forward at the end of the month; especially for those that, like me, love female fronted Metal of any type! There is just something about the timber of the female voice that runs straight through me, especially when they as good as the mighty pipes of lovely little Ms. Sabrina Valentine Cruz (not meant to be cute, she is really tiny!). I have listened to Seven Kingdoms for some time now and recently covered their killer show at The Haven in Winter Park, FL (Show Review). Simply stunning! Not only are they album perfect live, but bring such a fun and energetic persona to the stage. The furious and adroit abilities of guitarists Camden Cruz and Kevin Byrd effortlessly flow at ridiculous speeds while the rhythms and shared leads of Aaron Sluss’ bass lines are driven by the bedrock foundation of Keith Byrd’s blasting drums. Not to fault any of these killer players, Sabrina’s vocals are what hooked me a couple of years ago after first hearing The Fire Is Mine from 2012. Her voice emotes beautifully with such sparkling power and purity. Truly the voice of an angel and helps make Seven Kingdoms a damned addiction.

When I found out that Seven Kingdoms was releasing a new album, I immediately added them to my Most Anticipated Albums of 2017 list, bothered the band for a copy to review for MN and was able to procure Decennium through their public relations. I have to admit I was not prepared for just how damned good this thing is! Loved it the first time I listened to it and love it even more now that I have listened to it endlessly over the course of the last few days. It just gets better every time. If you loved their previously released albums, Decennium (a celebration of ten years as a band) is more of the same, only spit shined and finely polished to glowing perfection. Seven Kingdoms was a force to be reckoned with before, but with the dawn of Decennium become a singularity in the world of Power Metal. This album is a defining moment where focused direction, perseverance and hard work pay off dividends we as fans can revel in. I am not ashamed to admit that I was moved to tears a number of times while listening intently to this album. This kind of sentiment is what music is all about and Seven Kingdoms does it brilliantly. Beautiful, powerful and without a doubt, moving. From the opening note of “Stargazer” to the outro of “Awakened from Nothing”, I sit in absolute awe of everything on Decennium. Blazing, soulful, shred-worthy and ultra-melodic guitar playing overflow at every turn without once trading technical ability for feel and proper administration of any given track. “Undying” is a perfect example of this as the duel guitars thread a complex path through the ever changing tempos and bridges that barely allow a breath to be taken when listening. “In the Walls” was introduced at The Haven show so I was no stranger to this monster. Likely to become one of the most played tracks on the album, this little ditty has intensity and tension that takes hold like a death machine out of the Saw series and will not let go. “The Tale of Deathface Ginny” really let the unique bass lines of Aaron Sluss shine. To my ear his runs are what give Seven Kingdoms much of their European sound; giving an almost Irish jig vibe where it should not belong but works miraculously. Really ingenious and unusual use of the instrument I cannot ever remember hearing before. “Castles In the Snow” give us a showcase of overall band mastery of harmony. Sabrina’s lofty vocals dance just above the swirling snake pit of instrumentation. Wickedly charming throughout. “Kingslayer” is probably the most traditionally played song on the album in sound and in medieval theme. This is by no means a slight because the choral melodies are simply mesmerizing with the Seven Kingdoms adept touch. If you are looking for how European Power Metal should be played, here’s your song. “The Faceless Hero” is one of the songs that sucks all of the air out of the room I spoke about above. Interesting and constant changes, spectacular playing and lovely feel are just icing on the cake when listening closely to the lyrical content. If forced to pick a favorite, this song would probably be it. Continuing on that same gold thread, “Neverending” adds a note of desperation and frustration that just seethes with emotion and an almost doubtful sense of hope; proving that Seven Kingdoms can do dark intensity just as well as their normally, uplifting passion and warmth. “Hollow” blasts away, turning the tables of inward turmoil, outward. Inspiring drums, ridiculous guitar work and throatier vocals define this song before “Awakening From Nothing” close the album on a slightly sad note. Almost restrained, this song vacillates between slower, darker sections and blazing, thrashy movements that simmer just below the boiling point of tungsten (10,030 degrees Fahrenheit, for those that care and were about to look it up).

If, like me, you want this album in your hands sooner than later, you have a few more days for their pre-order at Kickstarter. Otherwise, you will have to wait for January 31st to bask in Seven Kingdoms’ incredible Decennium. After having a few months to enjoy this killer release, Seven Kingdoms will give many of us the opportunity to see them live as they head out with Evergrey, Need and Ascendia for a whirlwind tour of the United States and Canada. After seeing them before and loving every minute of this decimating release, you can bet your ass I am leaving May 6th open! Hell, maybe even the following day in Tampa too…

May 06 – Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at The Haven in Winter Park, FL

May 07 – Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at The Orpheum in Tampa, FL

May 11Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Fulcrum Lake at The Rock Box in San Antonio, TX

May 14 – Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Helsott / Ascendia at Brick by Brick in San Diego, CA

May 15Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms at LVCS in Las Vegas, NV

May 17Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms at LVCS in Las Vegas, NV

May 20Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia / Prozac Staple at Studio Seven in Seattle, WA

May 22Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at Dickens in Calgary, Canada

May 23Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at The Exchange in Regina, Canada

May 24Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at Mod Club Theatre in Toronto, Canada

May 25Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at The Cabooze! in Minneapolis, MN

May 26Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at Reggies in Chicago, IL

May 28Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at Mod Club Theatre in Toronto, Canada

May 30Evergrey / Seven Kingdoms / Need / Ascendia at L’ANTI Bar & Specialties in Ville De Quebec, Canada

Tracklist for Decennium:

Stargazer

Undying

In the Walls

The Tale of Deathface Ginny

Castles in the Snow

Kingslayer

The Faceless Hero

Neverending

Hollow

Awakened From Nothing

More Seven Kingdoms can be found on Facebook ReverbNation Nightmare Records Pre-orders YouTube

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Odyssey

About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

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