SEVEN KINGDOMS – Zenith (2022)

SEVEN KINGDOMS - Zenith (2022) full

Commercial metallers SEVEN KINGDOMS are back and they are better than ever with their newest release ”Zenith”, delivering 11 epic, effective tracks, just with the right timing of 44 minutes.
There are a collection of killer cuts here, like ‘Universal Terrestrial’ which you simply cannot stop spinning. It has everything fans of catchy metal fans want and it takes pains to keep things heavy and modern without forsaking the olden ways.
As ever, Seven Kingdoms live and die by the charm and ability of Sabrina Valentine and that’s not a bad bet to make. She’s a truly gifted vocalist with a broad range and real power to her delivery, and over the course of ”Zenith”, she shows us again and again just how impressive she can be.
Sabrina can sing anything with ease, just listen to the cover of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts classic ‘I Hate Myself For Loving You’.

First song ”Diamond Handed” wastes no time and takes off with some classic metal riffage right before you are sonically kicked in the face by a wall of sound that is the first verse. We are lead through out the song by some sinister harmonic guitar riffing between Kevin Byrd and Camden Cruz, while bro Keith Byrd is keeping the energy high drumming like a mad man. All this is going on while Sabrina Cruz is belting about holding the line and being Diamond Handed.
Up next we have ”A Silent Remedy”; a song that starts off with some tight harmonic guitar chugging that makes it’s way into a galloping verse then onwards onto a relatively uniquely structured tune in that the chorus doesn’t come until the second verse. The song ends with Sabrina really leaving us off on some high notes.

From there we go straight into a glam rocker called ”Love Dagger”. If this song drops in intensity, it picks up in melodic content, as the song seems to be more tailored around the vocalist, in that you will hear her melodies being cited on synthesizers and it seems the band is generally more complimentary towards what is happening on the vocal part of the song. The song is a nice driving mid tempo rocker that sets us up for a huge chorus where Sabrina really gets a chance to belt.

‘Chasing The Mirage‘ starts off with a soaring harmonic guitar lead that really leans into a huge pre-bend right before a nice melodic harmony sets us up for an atmospheric verse. Just when the guitars start to breathe, they pick themselves right back up and one of the catchiest choruses of the album is laid in front of us, followed up with a much heavier instrumental section than we have heard so far.
At around the half way mark we have the songs ”Valonqar” and ”Empty Eyes”. ”Valonqar” being the breathe of fresh air; Sabrin reveals her true versatility as a vocalist. Starting off in a very ominous footing, her melodies remind me of something I would hear in a Celtic folk song. ‘Empty Eyes‘ brings us back into a heavier setting, where vocally I am reminded of Amy Lee, while musically is punchy.

We receive a sudden jolt of energy in the song ”Magic In The Mist” and we are back into the world of high gain. This song is brooding both lyrically and musically but by the time the pre-chorus hits the tension is released and reapplied largely in part by both the vocal melody and the guitar chords being held out.
Moving still a little faster, the aforementioned ”Universal Terrestrial” seems to be some sort of love song veiled in science-fiction metaphor, with a lyrical break to indulge in lead guitar harmonies. The Chorus seems to cut the groove in half, cutting the double-time feel for a more straight forward rocking chorus.

The last song on the record is a cover of the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts‘ classic ‘I Hate Myself For Loving You‘. This cover is very faithful to the original – there are some vocal liberties taken by Sabrina and the guitar solo has been modernized, big time. This song does come in a little shorter than the original, but this is a great way to modernize an old favorite.

”Zenith” sports a top notch production sound, benefited by a clean mix / mastering. The band sounds tight, powerful, where the guitar playing by both Byrd and Cruz make for a perfect duo for Seven Kingdoms’ music. Sabrina has a great vocal tone and even some of her melodic phrasing is a little different than what you would expect in a melodic metal / commercial power record, which sets them apart from the pack.
Overall, this album deserves a spot on your shelf or playlist collection, it would make for a great listen on car ride, and there are way too many great parts on this record than whatever minor nitpicking I had.
Highly Recommended


01 – Diamond Handed
02 – A Silent Remedy
03 – Love Dagger
04 – Chasing The Mirage
05 – Valonqar
06 – Empty Eyes
07 – Magic In The Mist
08 – Universal Terrestrial
09 – The Water Dance
10 – Life Signs
11 – I Hate Myself For Loving You*
* (Joan Jett & The Blackhearts cover)

Sabrina Valentine Cruz / Vocals
Camden Cruz / Guitar
Kevin Byrd / Guitar
Keith Byrd / Drums



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