London-based metal hopefuls Seven Sisters are that rare beast in the world of traditional heavy metal – a band that embraces the past wholeheartedly yet offers something fresh, something beyond the tried and tested… a rare beast indeed!
So, whilst the spirited duel leads that round out the superb The Artifice are straight from the classic Brit metal playbook, the song they end is very much not cut from the same cloth. A rousing anthem that owes as much to the likes of Big Country as it does to Angel Witch, it really does come as a breath of fresh air to hear.
Much of the credit for this must go to the impassioned vocal approach of band leader Kyle McNeil, who eschews the temptation to wail through tracks like Whispers In The Dark, offering instead a voice packed with the sort of earnest gravitas that Ultravox man Midge Ure used to imbue his biggest songs with. As a point of difference it really adds value to the Seven Sisters sound, which otherwise might have been condemned to the shadows as ‘just’ that of another highly proficient, slightly faceless trad metal troupe.
They ain’t of course, but you always need that little bit of ‘X’ factor to keep you ahead of the pack. Or ‘Symphony X‘ factor in Seven Sisters’ case, as they certainly have a whiff of the early work of Russell Allen and company on superb cuts like Horizon’s Eye; throw in a dollop of old Blind Guardian and a soupçon of early Queensrÿche, all delivered with a match-winning dose of good old British heads-down, no frills metallic joi de vivre and you have a pretty compelling mixture.
In fact joy is a key component of the Seven Sisters experience; Shadow… is an incredibly enjoyable album to listen to, whether you buy into the band’s sci-fi mythos or not, and I guarantee you’ll find yourself returning to this album over and over again for it’s simple, unalloyed metallic appeal. Harking back to less complicated times, times when heavy metal had the power to move the feet as well as the brain and the heart in equal measure, this engrossing, superbly-executed latter day classic deserves a space on every self-respecting metalhead’s shelf. Make it so.
Shadow of a Falling Star Pt.1 releases on October 22nd