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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Seven Against Thebes

Equilibrium EP

Review by Gary Hill

Compiled of several cuts from the Seven Against Thebes album, this disc is quite cool. There are a variety of sounds and influences to be heard from track to track. Perhaps the most intriguing cut is “Feed the Furnace” which is based on Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Knife’s Edge.” Taken out of context from the rest of the album, this might lose some of the cohesiveness found on the full set, but the music still holds up quite well here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Equilibrium
As drums open this it feels like it could be some kind of progressive rock or melodic alternative rock piece. It powers out, though, into something a lot harder rocking. That harder rocking sound is a bit like some kind of grunge or alternative rock. Stone Temple Pilots is a good reference point, but with some Guns N Roses added to the mix. The verses are delivered over a stripped back arrangement, but the choruses get more powered up and rocking.  The guitar solo section is unusual, feeling a bit like garage-oriented psychedelia.
Mask
Backwards tracked sounds start this, reinforcing some of the psychedelic element heard on the previous piece. It works out from there into a screaming, rather off-kilter jam that’s got a lot of punk rock and heavy metal built into it. It’s a real raw screamer. Then it drops back to more stripped down sounds that are more like metallic progressive rock. It shares that stripped down verse meets harder rocking chorus sound. There’s definitely a lot of punk in the mix on this thing.
Swandiver

The melodic introduction here is pretty extensive and punctuated by bursts of harder rocking music. This number really makes me think a lot of Stone Temple Pilots but with some hints of Guns N Roses, too. It’s a bit more mainstream than either of the opening two cuts. It’s quite an effective rocker and a cool tune. There is a tasty melodic guitar solo section mid-track.

Feed the Furnace

Believe it or not, this hard-edged rocker is a reworking of Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Knife’s Edge.” Turned into a metallic jam, it really works well. This might be my favorite track of the whole set. Really, there was always a hard rocking edge to the cut, even when ELP did it. So, adding some crunch and intensity really works nicely.

Nemesis

A more purely accessible and mainstream number, this one has a lot of straightforward alternative rock in the mix. It’s another highlight of the set. It’s also a good way to end it in more mainstream territory without losing one bit of the rock.

 
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