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Seven Kingdoms - In The Walls

Seven Kingdoms - CD Review
In The Walls

Seven Kingdoms - In The Walls 


CD Info
English lyrics
4 tracks

When I was asked to review the latest EP by Seven Kingdoms, I had never heard of the band before. All I knew was that it was a power metal band from Deland, Florida, and that several of the Sonic Cathedral staff were associated with the group's vocalist, Sabrina Valentine (formerly a guest vocalist in Artizan). As a writer who has developed a reputation as being an "extreme metal" reviewer, I was pretty excited to have the chance to tackle a new sub-genre (some of my favorite female-fronted bands are symphonic power metal). In The Walls was love at first listen, and it usually takes me a while to warm up to an album. Heavily inspired by George R. R. Martin's The Song Of Ice And Fire epic (more commonly known as Game Of Thrones), In The Walls is not quite a concept album; however, it pays grand tribute to the hugely successful fantasy series while still boasting a style all its own.

The stand-out title track, "In The Walls," immediately captivated me. It strikes me as reminiscent of early Visions Of Atlantis or Edenbridge. Sabrina's rippling vocals are remarkably like Sabine Edelsbacher's (Edenbridge). Similarly, the powerful riffs and frenetic percussion remind me of Visions Of Atlantis' Eternal Endless Infinity, though in my opinion, In The Walls accomplishes what that album failed to. With the words "I am no monster, you must believe me; I am not guilty. It was the rats in the wall," Seven Kingdoms proudly asserts its dominance as a band to watch in 2016.

"Undying" opens with stunning instrumentation that reminds me of an early Metallica song. The track is fast-paced, but does not sacrifice skill for speed. Guitarists Kevin Byrd and Camden Cruz contribute masterful work, as well as some impressive percussion by drummer Keith Byrd and bassist Aaron Sluss. This track will thrill George R. R. Martin enthusiasts ("Mother of dragons, daughter of death...").

Next, wistful and melancholy guitars usher in the atmospheric strains of "The Bloody Meadows." Sabrina's voice is phenomenal in its forlorn beauty. The female backing vocals provide enormous depth to the song. This is definitely a stand-out track that I award an 8/10.

The most metal track on the album, "Stormborn," assault my eardrums with extreme vocals before seguing into its trademark outstanding cleans. This is the first time that the band ventures into "beauty and the beast" style vocals on this album, and their risk pays off. Seven Kingdoms is quite daring, and their musicianship is admirable.

Overall, In The Walls is extraordinary, in terms of musicianship, lyrical themes, and sheer boldness. My one complaint is that I could not always make out the words through Sabrina's considerable vibrato, and lyrics usually make or break an album for me. Due to its limited length, I am granting In The Walls a rating of only 7/11, but I think the album is an enormous success on multiple levels. This is definitely a band I will continue to follow.

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