Release: February 14, 2020
I’ll count every star and think what could be
Unlimited sky full of dreams
One day I know we’ll reunite
And one day I’ll find what makes me whole
Fronted by the talented Adrienne Cowan, American metal band Seven Spires made their debut on the metal scene with the EP “The Cabaret of Dreams” in 2014 followed by their first full length “Solveig” in 2017. Seven Spires performed extensively in the US, Canada, and at festivals such as MetalDays, 70,000 Tons of Metal, and ProgPower USA. And on February 14 the band will release the theatrical concept album “Emerald Seas”, via Frontiers Records.
“Emerald Seas” is a prequel to the story of their debut album, and follows a lone sea captain in search for eternal life while being hunted by an ancient beast, and struggling with loneliness, sacrifice, alcoholism and the weight that comes with achieving one’s goals. As such the music sways between melancholic with jazzy piano parts and mellow vocal deliveries, and brutal with Adrienne’s signature growls and heavy guitar riffs. All these elements, and many more, make this album an emotional theatrical experience. Explaining the influences behind the album, the band stated the following:
Ghost of a dream
No words exchanged
Drowner of worlds
With love from the other side
The trouble with eternal life
Emerald seas overture
“Musically, ‘Emerald Seas’ is influenced by our usual mix of melodic and extreme metal favorites and Hans Zimmer worship. We immersed ourselves deeply in 19th Century Romantic music and art while writing this record, and I like to think some traits from that era are present as a result. It's highly emotional; sweet and melodic at times, and quite dark and brutal at others, especially when dealing with themes like losing one's fear of death.”
When the band released “Succumb” as the first single from this album I was taken aback as I was expecting something heavier and harsher than what the song had to deliver, and that in turn got me wondering about the album. Was it going to be all sweet and jazzy like that or would it hold some surprises? Second single “Drowner of worlds” quenched some of my initial worries, but I was still a bit skeptical. Upon listening to “Emerald Seas” a few times I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with what the band has accomplished here. Most of the music is in the veins of “Succumb”, that is (mostly) clean, melodic singing with wonderful backing orchestrations, with just “Drowner of worlds” and “Fearless” being full on death / black metal.
After the obligatory intro “Igne Defendit”, which sets the mood and transports you into another world with some vocalizing and pipes, “Ghost of a dream” brings you back into reality energetic guitars and oriental like rhythms. The beautiful “No words exchanged” is the first highlight of the album with (almost) whispered vocals that add intensity and drama to the guitar melody, and a very mysterious atmosphere. Power metal vibes are more than present on “Every crest” which has a very catchy chorus and soaring vocals, while “Unmapped darkness”, the second highlight of the album by my count, seduces the listener like a siren’s song both through the lyrics and through Adrienne’s delivery. The way she switches between beautiful clean singing and deep, grave growls on this track is a testament to her craft as a musician as well as a singer.
After the rather jazzy feel of “Succumb” and the turbulent symphonic-meets-death metal mash-up that is “Drowner of worlds”, the folky notes of “Silvery moon” are like a moment of respire, while the Jack Kosto’s heavy solo on this track is matched by the cello lines. Another highlight of the album for sure. “Bury you” again has some power metal vibes to it and beautiful piano melodies, while “Fearless” as stated before, is black metal to the core. The piano melodies and Adrienne’s delivery remind me of Devilment, it’s that heavy yet melodic. “With love from the other side” is a short but sweet vocal moment and “The trouble with eternal life” has another incredible solo that adds melody to the song. “Emerald seas overture” closes the album on a very cinematic and epic note.
Of course this is a general overview of the songs, because each of them offers so much more than what I described in this review covering a lot of different genres (not just symphonic or death metal) and a lot of different moods and emotions, and I will leave that for the listeners to discover. Bottom line is that if you enjoy “Succumb” and you like Adrienne Cowan vocals, as well as Seven Spires’s flair for dramatic and over the top compositions, you will not be disappointed by “Emerald Seas”. It’s big, cinematic, layered and full of color and life, and it will take you on a fantastic journey.
Rating: 9 / 10
Adrienne Cowan – Vocals + Keyboards
Jack Kosto – Guitar
Peter de Reyna – Bass
Chris Dovas – Drums