Seven Thorns – II
Seven Thorns – II
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
The last I heard from Seven Thorns was 2010’s Return To The Past on Nightmare Records, and while rumors have been bubbling since then (this album was evidently released independently at the beginning of 2013), this March is the first I’ve seen of II. While it’s technically the third album that this group of musicians has put out, it’s the second under the moniker “Seven Thorns” (as opposed to 2007’s Glow Of Dawn as “7thorns”), just in case there was any confusion when viewing the Metal Archives.
I enjoyed Return To The Past well enough, but it was definitely quite a redundant album – the melodies (especially the vocals), the guitar work, the preachy and/or silly lyrical themes – the whole works. II had a lot of improvement to make if it wanted to properly capture attention. I believe that at this, the band has succeeded to some extent.
Although frontman Erik Blomkvist has now departed, his voice on this album is instantly recognizable, and he re-treads considerable ground from Return To The Past. The same guitar work, mid-fast tempo, and supporting harpsichord key work from the last album is still present to a great extent (very noticeable on the first couple of songs in particular), but there’s a bit more experimentation. The unexpectedly quick and vibrant intro to “Justice” came as a surprise that breathed a bit more life into the composition, though the chorus will sound very familiar.
The guitar leads are most certainly as capable as ever, but risk listener boredom at times by continuing to cling to rather basic, extremely familiar patterns, arpeggios, and other behavior. The general quality level has improved modestly, however, as there is a bit more experimentation and freedom of guitar work on II (though some listeners will undoubtedly think of it as quite minimal), as well as noticeably better clarity – everything sounds a little cleaner and easier to distinguish. Interestingly, my favorite track from this album is the rather fun and capable cover of ABBA’s “Mamma Mia”, which I think I’ve spun at least a dozen times now.
While I enjoy Seven Thorns’ style pretty well, and like throwing on both of these albums for casual listening now and again, many purveyors of power metal are going to see this as rather stale, unadventurous, and boring material. Even I must admit that it is fairly generic, if well-composed. However, the fact that an ABBA cover is my favorite tune lends a bit of weight to the argument that the band has some work to do on its original material. I don’t remember precisely what I said concerning Return To The Past in this regard, but these fellows need to do something to distinguish themselves further. Of course, we prefer that this is just a little bit fresher songwriting and not a silly gimmick. I recommend II for fans of the band’s earlier work, and those who don’t mind catchy but fairly basic Euro-power.
3.5 // 5