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Seven Straight - Rise from the Ashes

Seven Straight
Rise from the Ashes
by Mark Machlay at 10 November 2020, 7:07 AM

Canadian-based SEVEN STRAIGHT are heralding that mainstream heavy rock formula with their debut album  - “Rise of the Ashes” - that NICKLEBACK and SHINEDOWN were mocked for but have come out heavier and normalized in the hard rock/heavy metal world. The band played alongside such famous modern rock acts as THREE DAYS GRACE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, SUBLIME, and the up and coming Los Angeles duo KRASH KARMA. Dustine Penny grew up with music performing a vocal and ukulele cover of “Blue Suede Shoes” at just five years ol. He soon gravitated to drums and played in the family band until he discovered heavy modern rock as a teenager. He soon formed his own band, released some music, and played a couple hundred shows before growing tired of the grind and wanting a fresh perspective in his musical journey. Striped down acoustic performances of originals and covers inspired him and creatively fueled him, leading him to record “Hold Me Down”. The song caught the attention of a famous Canadian producer Mark S. Berry and he enlisted Swedish guitarist Staffan Osterlind and drummer Matt O’Rourke as SEVEN STRAIT began to take shape.

The hard work that Penny put in over the years is on full display on their debut “Rise From The Ashes”. They also managed to nab a couple of guests spots with JAKE E. LEE’s RED DRAGON CARTEL and HAREM SCAREM drummer/vocalist providing some background vocals and former THE GUESS WHO guitarist Dale Russel to provide a few licks. With their unique sound – coined by the band as “New Age Rock” – the album is armed to the teeth with catchy, memorable hooks ready-made for radio-friendly mainstream rock channels. “All Day Long” is our album opener and it’s a bit underwhelming for a band whose statement to the world is “our rain becomes thunder”. It’s a slow crooner, Penny’s vocal chops are nicely suited for it and it features a relentless, wah-soaked solo for Osterlind to let loose for a bit. However, next track “Let it Bleed” opens with a TANTRIC/DAYS OF THE NEW clean riff followed by a matching distorted riff a great, singable melodic chorus with plenty of rock “woah, woah, woah” ad-libbing.

The multinational band provides a lot to love for the contemporary rock music fans. Unfortunately they do seem to wear their influences on their sleeve, especially with the ballad “Back Home” sounding like a 3 DOORS DOWN tune with a gruffer voice. While I enjoyed the bluesy solo in it, I could not help but hear the Zakk Wylde influence with a guitar lick that is so strikingly similar to one Wylde wrote in the OZZY OSBOURNE track “Mama I’m Coming Home”. Then “Come Clean” has a really fun and interesting syncopated bass riff and main riff, but it sounds so much like an ALTER BRIDGE song. On the other hand, Penny does some great work with his voice, sometimes crooning and light to the more gravelly, gremlin Dave Mustaine growl at times, the drumming is huge and in-the-pocket groovy and the choruses are so catchy. I may not find myself coming back very often to this album, but I did turn my analytical brain off and just let the music wash over me by the end. Ultimately, I enjoyed it, but I wanted a bit more originality and a lot more “wow” factor from a band with the attitude of “taking the world on”.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. All Day Long
2. Let It Bleed
3. Flatline
4. Hold Me Down
5. Back Home
6. Beautiful Me
7. Come Clean
8. Shades of Grey
Lineup:
Dustin Penny – Vocals Guitars & Bass
Staffan Osterlind – Lead Guitars
Matt O’Rourke – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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