Reviewed: February, 2021
Released: 2020, Indie
When people think of Norway and Metal, I believe most people start to think of Black Metal. It’s understandable to a degree but there are any number of excellent Prog and Power Metal bands from Norway like Pagan’s Mind, Communic, Conception and more. If there were any justice Gaia Epicus would be mentioned among the elite of not only Norwegian Power Metal but all Power Metal.
The band is back with album number seven, aptly called SEVENTH RISING. It has only been a couple of years since ALPHA & OMEGA which I inexplicably missed in 2018. Gaia Epicus is really now a one-man band plus friends. As the music industry has evolved and apparently there is some planetary flu-bug going around, so more and more bands are band in name only, but that is nor really important as long as they make music!
This time founder Thomas Chr. Hansen has recruited some top-level talent, specifically Mike Terrana (ex- Rage, Yngwie etc) and Tim Owens (ex –Judas Priest, Iced Earth etc). If that doesn’t get some more attention from mainstream Metal media, I don’t know what will!
SEVENTH RISING finds the band continuing on in their fine tradition of classic Power Metal. Every song has lots of speed, lots of energy and this time the drums seems to have even extra punch courtesy of Mike Terrana. Hansen is a solid vocalist, lots of mid-range, he never gets too high into the stratosphere and he has a good grit and tone.
Hansen self produced the album and it sounds as good as anything else on the market. I almost would have liked his vocals a little higher in the mix! The solos fly with flash and flair one of my favourite being at the 3:43 mark of the song ‘From Ashes To Fire’. The album starts with a bit of an acoustic piano introduction and then we are off to the races for most of the album. SEVENTH RISING is not an all-out blitzkrieg of speed but fast enough to be exciting.
The first single is ‘Gods Of Metal’ and this is the track where Tim Owens sings on it. Hansen is a very good singer but he is not quite ‘The Ripper’ who brings his ‘A’ game to the song. I really like the lyrics of this one. It is one of those songs that refers to many other bands and songs in the lyrics; a story of Metal with references to Iron Maiden, Metallica, Ozzy, Dio, Helloween, Accept and others. Make it a game and see if you can identify all of them!
In the past I’ve complained about most of the bigger Metal magazines and websites who do their ‘Top 20’ lists way too early. SEVENTH RISING came out late in the year (Dec 17th) and this is a classic example of what I’m talking about; a killer band and album comes out late in the year but those organizations will ignore it because they rush their lists out prematurely. SEVENTH RISING deserves better than that! If you like Power Metal in any form this album will entertain and satisfy you.
Watch for my interview with Thomas Hansen this month as well!
1. Like a Phoenix
3. Nothing to Lose
4. From Ashes to Fire
5. The Dream
6. Invisible Enemy
7. Dr. Madman
8. Number One
9. Gods of Metal
10. We Are the Ones
11. Eye of RA
Thomas Chr. Hansen-Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Tim “Ripper” Owens- Guest vocals on ‘Gods Of Metal’