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A clear step forward - 94%

SteveHNo96, August 6th, 2011

Power metal, has, to say the least, a limited range of topics they usually talk about. You pretty much know that you're getting a fantasy role about a man, a king, sometimes a dragon, and saving the princess or the kingdom. This is really not that much different, so what makes it so good? Three separate things.

First off, the energy level is amazing. Singer Sabrina Valentine is a perfect complement to the guitars, the bass and the drums, all four of which promote an overwhelming feeling that emanates through the entire album. This doesn't happen much at all with American metal. It's more common with bands like Firewind, Edguy and Stormwarrior, but Seven Kingdoms has taken that feeling and thrown it into an album that sounds amazing. Listen to songs like "Seven Kingdoms", "Eyes To The North" or "Into The Darkness". You know something great's coming and you want to know what it is, so you keep listening throughout the entire album.

Second, the storytelling aspect of this album differs from most other albums. With most power metal albums, you hear the story told from one perspective. However, Seven Kingdoms isn't content to leave that alone. A female lead, a clean male vocal and a harsh male vocal actually provide three different aspects to the story of a kid who was the rightful king and owner of the Seven Kingdoms but was exiled at the age of two and fought his way back to fight the oppressive tyrant who deposed him and claim his position as owner. It is a unique spin on an old favorite.

Third, everything works so well together. Often times a band like this is more concerned with how many beats per minute they can achieve, not so much whether the final product sounds good at all. Seven Kingdoms has managed to capture the speed, the energy and the intensity of European metal and put it in a 56-minute complilation of incredible harmony done in perfect synchronicity. Every member of the band has a distinct talent, none are hidden too deep in the background and you know they play well together.

All in all, although nothing new has been attained by Seven Kingdoms and fans of power metal in general may turn their nose up at this album, anyone with an open mind and heart to hear some extraordinary music done well or who is looking for a band from the U.S. that hasn't completely gone soft in an effort to sell a few albums should check out Seven Kingdoms. I can honestly say this is a breath of fresh air for me and for most people who enjoy metal done right.