Released: 2010, Heaven and Hell Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Seventh Calling have just released their second full-length album through North Carolina's Heaven and Hell Records, following up their "Prelude To Madness" EP that was recently released last fall.
EPIDEMIC features nine brand new tracks. "Test of Time" opens the disc with a mid-tempo thrash metal delivery and really sets the pace for the rest of the disc, as every song thereafter with the exception of "Tyrannical Reign" stay within the same pace, becoming almost indistinguishable after repeated listens.
Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Steve Handel seems to have a pretty good ear for phrasing, but his gruff vocals lack charisma and given his good ol' college try at the higher register end of the spectrum, I'd give him an "A" for effort and a "C-" in terms of delivery. Steve just doesn't have the proper range to attempt falsetto spots and have them come out sounding powerful or aggressive. Steve does lock in well with lead guitarist Alex Ritchey and there are some interesting moments filled with some intricate guitar work as demonstrated on "Beyond (the Wicked Lies)" which opens with an acoustic intro amongst electric lead harmonies, or on the riff-heavy "Fractured".
It's also worth noting the rhythm section of Shannon Frye on drums and Marc Flores who function well as a unit, despite some shortcomings in the production on EPIDEMIC and its lack of low-end frequencies. Shannon turns in a killer performance with his double kick work, but the end result is more akin to wet cardboard boxes being pummeled, than a thunderous assault on the bass drums. Marc's basslines could use a bit of a boost as well.
Overall, I'm not that impressed with EPIDEMIC. I think that Seventh Calling show some promise as all four band members are talented musicians, but I believe they need to match their playing abilities with creativity and mix things up once in a while. EPIDEMIC sounds pretty stale for that very reason, there is not a lot of variety in the nine tracks to be found on this disc. Also, I would recommend Steve focusing his efforts solely on rhythm guitar and would encourage Seventh Calling as a band to secure a vocalist with a set of killer pipes.