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Seven Kingdoms - The Fire Is Mine Award winner

Seven Kingdoms
The Fire Is Mine
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 01 November 2012, 5:08 PM

If you have never heard SEVEN KINGDOMS, it is time for you to open the gates to experience one of the best female fronted Speed / Power Metal acts on the planet, and these brothers of the night hail not from Westeros or Winterfell but from Florida.

This is their third album, and it is an absolute masterpiece! If you relish the days of the early GAMMA RAY albums with Kai Hansen on vocals, the first two HAMMERFALL albums, early IRON SAVIOR albums, Mike Kiske era HELLOWEEN, and of course, most of the inspirational German, Italian, French, or Swedish acts who have made their mark on the genre, this band is for you! Come hither and feel their fire and warning touch.

Like BLIND GUARDIAN's sonic celebration of Tolkien, SEVEN KINGDOMS, as their namesake implies, are heavily influenced by the fantasy based novels of George R.R. Martin. However, they were singing about these themes before H.B.O. Ever popularized the “Game Of Thrones” series. Also like BG, they do not limit themselves to this topic exclusively, as evidenced in the amazing and transcendent “Flame Of Olympus”.

When I first received a promo of their debut, I was very impressed, but this was when they were more thrashing, and closer in style to 3 INCHES OF BLOOD or SKELETONWITCH, with only a hint of female vocals added in a more “Beauty And The Beast” fashion. When they released their sophomore self-titled album, I was a bit skeptical, having been burned out on some many NIGHTWISH clones. Well, I took a step back because not only were Sabrina Valentine's vocals authentic, and sincere like Amanda Somerville, but the music was just incredible. Now my eyes were focused to the north and my heart was lifted somewhere far away.

As winter comes, we are now treated to their newest symphony of stars for Nightmare Records. Shortly after completing a successful tour with BLIND GUARDIAN, and performing at “Prog. Power” festival, they entered Morrisound Studios and the result is that they have created an absolute masterpiece from start to finish. This is a true debt paid in steel that will cause all fragile minds to collapse.

Just like hearing the new album by RIOT last year, do not be surprised if this album ends up as one of your favourite picks of the year. Once you feel the thunder of the hammer of “After The Fall” with its super fast guitar melodies and searing solos being traded by long stay members: the storm born Camden Cruz and forever craven Kevin Byrd, you will instantly be lured into the sonic pulse of “Forever Brave”.

The might and majesty of “Symphony Of Stars” will astronomically guide you to the heavens. I relish how the magic solos actually mirror and echo the chorus and cadence… I am left pondering why a band this talented is not signed to a label who can remunerate them for their noble wisdom - not that the sagacious LANCE KING does not recognize true talent - but attention Nuclear Blast Records, you have already signed DORO, EPICA, NIGHTWISH, even CRUCIFIED BARBARA, now it is time for SEVEN KINGDOMS! What are you waiting for, follow the sign?

The title track ignites and evokes the pure dragons’ fire that Daenerys Targaryen has swelling in her Dothrakian heart, as the true “Mother Of Dragons”. As I listen to this and reflect on the past two seasons of the well-received H.B.O. Series, I can almost envision Sabrina personifying her character with her white silken locks, and her passionate persuasions. Aaron Sluss's percussive bass kindling only adds fuel to the never-ending fire burning in my mind. Once again the harmony solos and ludicrous war drum dynamics of Keith Byrd will prep you for battle and bring you right to the shores of Kingslanding, as the nightingale soliloquy of Sabrina will transport you to the enchanted arcane city of Qarth.

“Kardia” is the power ballad and while showcasing Sabrina's excellent range and vocal vicissitudes, I am already moving on to the power rage that is “Fragile Minds Collapse”, which mixes so many metal elements that it is like re-experiencing the dark hallucinations of “Messiah” by STEEL PROPHET. “In The Twisted Twilight” is by far one of the best songs with so many solos, that my head is just spinning out of control. Like with the past two phenomenal examples, they save the big epic track for the end, and this is the perfect way to end this paragon of modern influence.

I could go on praising this album for stranger aeons, but I think I have made it abundantly clear that if you love well-executed Power Metal, with well-penned lyrics, awesome production, and music written from a band who really care about their fans, while exemplifying a true brother / sisterhood of mettle within their ranks (The thank list is replete with an attitude of gratitude and honest intimacy the individual members share with one-another), then gaze in the mirror maze, no more. In fact, I am inclined to believe that Camden and Sabrina may be another ideal Metal couple just like Alex Krull and Liv Kristine, Simone Simmons And Oliver Palotai, and of course myself and the MettelMaiden.

May their mettle hearts forever beat and may they all the powers of the SEVEN KINGDOMS continue to create inspirational music such as this which just brightens your day, leading you out of the darkness and elevating your spirits! Their fire is forever mine!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Beyond The Wall
2. After The Fall
3. Forever Brave
4. Flame Of Olympus
5. Symphony Of Stars
6. The Fire Is Mine
7. Kardia
8. Fragile Minds Collapse
9. In The Twisted Twilight
10. A Debt Paid In Steel
11. The King In The North
Lineup:
Sabrina Valentine - Vocals
Camden Cruz -  Guitars, Backing Vocals
Kevin Byrd -  Guitars, Backing Vocals
Aaron Sluss - Bass
Keith Byrd - Drums
Record Label: Nightmare Records
     


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