SEVENTH WONDER – Tiara [Japan Edition +1] (2018)
SEVENTH WONDER are one of the most highly regarded acts in the progressive metal community. It has been eight very long years for fans waiting for the band’s fifth full-length album, but the wait is almost over. “Tiara” will be released next October 12 via Frontiers Music, appearing in Japan today with a bonus track.
In my humble opinion, Seventh Wonder’s previous studio album not only ranks among the best melodic progressive metal from the decade, but among the best overall.
The wait for a new Seventh Wonder has been a long, painful one, not helped by vocalist Tommy Karevik replacing Roy Khan on Kamelot.
“Arrival” is a short keyboard intro, hinting at a few melodies and a cinematic approach one might expect from the album. “The Everones” captures what the band does so well. Menacing riffs and soft synths on the back open into the vocals, and these riffs include a few screeches on the first verses. Tommy Karevik sings with his signature panache, accentuating the first (“Once chance to live”) and last phrases of the chorus (“This is the end”) wonderfully.
The track also includes a few vocoder phrases, further immersing the listener in the sci-fi, futuristic concept
“Dream Machines” features a chugging guitar riff that explores here and there, and some tender vocals. The huge sound is all over the place, cutting in and out with snippets of melody but hardly lasting long enough for you to get used to one particular passage.
“Against the Grain” opens with acoustical guitars that leads to a lead guitar section that climbs the scale with grace and beauty, and a keyboard solo on par with the melody. What follows is a progressive metal killer trading of solos, shifting tempos and changing keys.
On the other hand, “Victorious” is a short, song format rocker plenty of catchiness and a showcase of what Seventh Wonder are capable of. A highlight.
“Tiara’s Song”, the first track of the three part “Farewell”, is even better. The verses and chorus are beautifully constructed, with Karevik and Johan Liefvendahl (guitars) impressing. A few backing vocals are discernible, while Andreas Blomqvist’s basslines are slightly more distinct. The final piano melodies are moving and complement the vocals wonderfully.
The next two parts are softer, and almost sung in a ballad format alongside the keys. Highlights include quicker drumming and the warm, hearty “Tiara’s theme” sung by an ensemble on part two. The third includes a female voice around the chorus and a stunning viola section on the outro after a few alluring piano melodies.
The voice reappears, centrally and loudly, on “The Truth”, where the bass again comes to life and the album’s theme echoes as the track settles.
After a bunch of softer songs, “By the Light of the Funeral Pyres” takes no time to burst into life with a loud synth and driving guitar. The contrast in the grim nature of the lyrics, with all the death and destruction, and the upbeat instrumentation reminds me of Everybody Dies by Ayreon. “Damnation Below”, on the other hand, has a Dream Theater tip-of-the-hat going for it, but much more melodic.
Following a short instrumental with vocals and organ on “Procession”, album closer “Exhale” turns up the heaviness in spectacular fashion after a steady build-up. The riffs are very metallic and there’s rapid drumming. Lasting for almost ten minutes, it also has a dazzling extended solo section on the guitar, synth and a notable one on the bass, which is given more space on the mix.
Seventh Wonder are just just ‘another buch of skilled musicians’. This bands work as band on every level, from conception of the music and unique arrangements to interplay and ‘special touches’. In “Tiara” you can hear attention to detail, the eight years in the making weren’t in vain.
Production design, a key for Seventh Wonder’s magic, feels more balanced than before, where from track to track it was focused on a primary instrument / vocals. “Tiara” sound huge, but not overwhelming.
Another superb effort from Seventh Wonder.
01 – Arrival
02 – The Everones
03 – Dream Machines
04 – Against The Grain
05 – Victorious
06 – Tiara’s Song (Farewell Pt. 1)
07 – Goodnight (Farewell Pt. 2)
08 – Beyond Today (Farewell Pt. 3)
09 – The Truth
10 – By The Light Of The Funeral Pyres
11 – Damnation Below
12 – Procession
13 – Exhale
14 – Tiara’s Song (Acoustic) [Japan Bonus Track]
Tommy Karevik – Vocals
Andreas Blomqvist – Bass
Johan Liefvendahl – Guitars
Andreas Söderin – Keyboards
Stefan Norgren – Drums
BUY IT !