Released: 2000, Septagram Records
My experience with this album is kinda like my experience with Spock's Beard from last month. At first, I was not at all impressed. But after repeated listens, I realized that Seventh Omen is not playing the purely generic American power metal that I thought they were. No, Seventh Omen is something a little bit different. While the band, to my ears anyway, does sound like they've brushed up on their Nevermore and Sanctuary collections, they don't fall into the realm of pure copying.
For better or worse, what S.O. brings to their style of power metal is a certain L.A. sleaze rock mentality. While this is not reflected in the lyrics, it definitely comes out in the feel of the music. Don't ask me why. Songs like "A Gentle Breeze", "Polarized" and "Divine Dichotomy" have a certain angry underground quality. Partly due to the slightly grungy production values, and partially because vocalist Clay Yoksas sounds like he has seen some rough days, Polarized sounds like the work of an underdog. Trust me, this is a good thing, saving the band from sounding like just another "happy" power metal band. Indeed, the band's lyrics are anything but happy. Almost every song on the album deals with a perceived problem in society or the environment. This is a welcome break from the deluge of swords & sorcery bands out there today.
Besides some cool lyrics, the band has also come up with some excellent riffs. "Hate Breeds" is a rapid-fire speedster, followed by the equally manic "Fear Feeds". While less aggressive songs like "Robotica" and "Divine Dichotomy" are effective at staying heavy while slowing down the pace, "Treading Water" is unnecessary. In fact, this album could easily shave 3 or 4 songs off of its 13 and still be a quality CD. If Seventh Omen continue to mature, they could join Nevermore and Iced Earth at the top of the American power metal heap.