Released: 2010, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Canadian progressive ´cult metallers´ (as many still consider them these days) Kingsbane, or Seven Years (they changed their name after releasing their 6-track demo in 1991) career was somewhat shortlived. They only released 2 quality demos during their short existence, one came out under the Kingsbane moniker, and the other in 1992 precisely, under the Seven Years name. I have no idea how widely these demos were spread outside of the Canadian territory, but one thing is for sure: it´s great to see these demos getting released on one CD, knowing how hard or even impossible they may be to come by nowadays (unless you have the needed patience to hunt them down from a place like eBay, and pay a pretty penny for them). Kingbane/Seven Years´ demos have now been remixed and remastered by Robert DiGioia at MetalWorks Studios exclusively for this release – and without being aware of the productions of both of their original demos at all, the production on this 2-demos-on-1-CD sounds good anyway.
As for the music itself, I can see why people often tend to refer to bands like Dream Theater or Fates Warning when talking about Kingsbane/Seven Years. Similarities are definitely there, but then again Kingsbane/Seven Years really do not sound like they are a straight copycat of either of the aforementioned 2 names. Yes, understandably it´s kind of easy to associate many prog metal acts with some of the most known icons of the whole progressive metal genre – and band names like Dream Theater and Fates Warning may pop up very easily from somewhere when it comes to discussing the most influential progressive metal bands that have walked the face of the earth.
Both Kingsbane and Seven Years demos paint a picture of a well-rehearsed and musically very advanced sounding prog metal act that had a lot of ideas and potential to make things really happen for them back in the day. The music on both demos is pretty multi-layered, atmospheric with many intriguing melodies, instrumentally challenging, having lots of its own identity – and what is best, the songs even tend to stand out pretty effortlessly without being overly hyper-technical for their own good, and in the process, ruining the songs´ purpose to sound listenable and enjoyable for the fans of this type of strongly prog-ish orientated stuff. Therefore I have to say that I also find it quite odd that none of the labels snapped this talented Canadian prog metal bunch when they put out their debut demo in 1992, keeping in mind for example Dream Theater´s 2nd album, IMAGES AND WORDS that was released exactly in the same year, which would have truly raised the Canadian band to the new heights of popularity.
If I were a serious and devoted listener and collector of the prog metal genre, then I would make sure to pick this release up for my personal prog metal collection. This is definitely a great addition in there – not a slightest doubt of it.