Seventh Storm – Maledictus

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Seventh Storm - Maledictus
Seventh Storm – Maledictus

Reviewed: September 2022
Released: 2022, Atomic Fire Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Simon Wiedeman

Seventh Storm are a metal band formed in 2020, influenced by Bathory, Tiamat, Paradise Lost, and Cradle of Filth. They are led by once Moonspell drummer Mike Gaspar. He comments, ‘Since I was gonna start a new band it was important that our message was strong… Seventh Storm stands for a continuation of brotherhood.’ As well as his ferocious percussion work, Mike also wrote his entire SS debut album called ‘Maledictus’. It shows that he is a metal renaissance man. The release is filled with pain and anger combined with hope and forgiveness, showing the depth of his compositions. It was recorded at Dynamix Studios in Lisbon and was mixed by legend Tue Madsen. 

Wow, I’m surprised, this album is pretty damn good. Right from the start, the singer not only has great melodies over the equally good harmonies, the latter elements have all sorts of sci-fi/adventure film style colours you rarely hear in the metal genre, even more sophisticated forms of it. The frontman is clearly very expert, too. He kind of sounds like a mix of Symphony X’s singer and the vocalist from Disturbed. Other times he has a more unique style that is crammed full of pained emotional expression, there are even some hints of Pearl Jam.

The frequent changes of tempos in the album aren’t a lazy attempt at creating tension and excitement for the most part, they are often utilised PERFECTLY. Exciting stuff mixed with great melodies? Now that’s cool. You even get frequent and great shred guitar playing, there’s so much great stuff going on. Maybe the guitar riffs don’t get the same priority as the vocals at times, but you don’t want things to be too busy, right? Having said that, the riffs could sometimes be more interesting when the guy isn’t singing. Just a thought. I’m not saying they’re bad, but they are often relatively simple chord based ideas that could do with more embellishments. Sometimes simple guitar melodies on top of them up the interest, but as I said – simple. Slightly.

Track ’Sarpanit’ has a completely different vibe than the first two proggers, it being an Arabic style interlude. And that’s fine! It leads into ‘Gods of Babylon’ very nicely with its similar ideas. You know when I was complaining about the sometimes so-so riffs? Things are better in GoB, at least at times. By that I mean, they are more notey than before. Unfortunately however, the vocals become more mediocre and have less of that wonderful colour heard earlier, but they are still far from bad. I’m not sure if the black metal blast beats sometimes heard in the track are truly necessary. Rather than them upping the thrills, they sound a bit more illogical. Maybe that’s just me, I’m sure hardened Mayhem fans will love them. And the melodic soloing over the wonderfully composed Middle Eastern metal backing? Beautiful, as always. John Petrucci style speed picking is heard that couldn’t even be a little more crispy.

‘The Reckoning’ actually has some super cool riffing in it in the style of Dream Theater. Some of the best riffs of the LP. They develop like the prog legends too, and with the bright and complex keys on top of them? Again, hard to fault. The singer has some nice-ish at least lines once more, but things are at their best when the vocalist sings over chords that aren’t quite as expected. ‘Inferno Rising’ is like prog metal combined with Megadeth, and has a great speed picked guitar ostinato. Again, there seems to be a trade off, in that the vocals aren’t quite the same as earlier. The dramatic and anthemic guitars and keys that are mixed with black metal in ‘My Redemption’ are other great ideas that are rather unique. Not only that, you get cleaner instrumental sections, it’s like you’re getting a bit of everything in the album. Track ‘Haunted Sea’ may not have been up to the standards I keep mentioning over and over again, but my God does it end with an incredible last note from the singer. It’s something, right?

In conclusion, this is a truly GREAT album with only minor flaws, the main for me being the slightly disappointing drop in vocal melody quality after the second track. (I won’t mention it again). The instrumental parts are far harder to criticise. Some are a little dull, but all are performed with a huge amount of skill. The music on the whole isn’t quite as complicated as Dream Theater, think of SS as a cross between them, groove metal and as previously hinted at, higher level black metal, (e.g. Emperor). This is strongly recommended for all sorts of people, and the guitar shredding isn’t just shredding it’s genuinely creative and only flashy when it fits the music, which to be fair is a lot of the time. Actually the axeman is absolutely incredible. The production is thick, powerful and crystal clear, but not off-puttingly so, just another reason to get it. 


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Tracklisting:

1. Pirate’s Curse
2. Saudade (English Version)
3. Sarpanit
4. Gods Of Babylon
5. The Reckoning
6. Inferno Rising
7. Seventh
8. My Redemption
9. Haunted Sea
10. Saudade Acoustic (English Version)
11. Saudade (Acoustic Portuguese Version)
12. Saudade (Portuguese Version)

Band line-up:

Mike Gaspar – Drums
Rez – Vocals
Ben Stockwell – Lead guitar
Josh Riot – Guitar
Butch Cid – Bass

Websites:

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