Seven Seals – …Of Contradictions
I recall purchasing this band’s debut shortly after its release. After having it for a couple of years, I’ve only listened to it once or twice, but I seem to recall it being decent fantasy-themed symphonic power metal with overly long titles (Something that, unless you’re totally overboard like Bal-Sagoth, tends to be irritating more oft than not). …Of Contradictions, however, seems to be largely free of fantasy influences. The introductory track features some background noise and phone messages (“what is your emergency?”) that seem completely pointless. However, “Dreams Collide” is a decent, if somewhat sleepy opener, and so I took heart that this group hadn’t slid entirely downhill.
Despite featuring a Scythian (get it?) album title, Seven Seals has dropped their elongated track titles to more reasonable ones like “The Better Days” and “Deliver Us”. With titles like these and “Crestfallen”, the emotional undercurrent of the album is somewhat morose and perhaps a bit foreboding. For power metal, the tempo tends to be more moderate, and in some songs the keyboards enjoy most all of the harmonic and melodic support, while guitars are relegated to a rhythmic role. In fact, although it’s not painfully obvious, this band either underutilizes or undervalues the guitar in its music. Rapid riffing is slowed to a moderately paced trot, with keyboards and double bass providing most of the texture, and solos are slimmed down and quite tame when they occur, especially for this genre.
Further illustrating the relative mediocrity of …Of Contradiction is the vocalist (name unknown), who has a very reserved style of singing. His high register is sometimes a bit strained, but generally acceptable, while he spends a great deal of the time floating in the mid range. Sadly, he doesn’t get the most memorable vocal hooks to pound out, so I don’t know that this album is actually a great measure of his talent. “Dreams Collide” and “The Better Days” shouldn’t really be called standouts, but they’re the only songs here that really held my interest, and the only with a reasonable amount of catchiness to grab onto.
If you don’t mind another European sympho-power release that’s down-tempo, drowning in questionably effective synths, and lacking any real vocal or guitar punch, you’re welcome to …Of Contradiction, but I for one am tossing this one back into the veritable sea and waiting until it’s grown up a bit.
Dan’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5