Swedish proggists Seventh Dimension get the balance right on their new album Of Hope & Ordeals; Heavy without being overbearing, complex without becoming impenetrable, and with enough melodic flourish to keep the ears twitching with interest throughout, they’ve created a very nice slab of prog for our delectation.

First track The Great Unknown is a fine opening statement of intent, and if you haven’t heard anything from the band before then it’s hard to think of a better summation of their talents. Coming on like a slightly sedate mix of Yes, Dream Theater and Symphony X, this is pure ear candy for those who like their headbanging on the sophisticated side.

Markus Tälth‘s smooth vocals are very easy on the ear, nicely counterpointing the tough tones of Luca Delle Fave‘s axes on standout exercise in mellifluousity V23. Della Fave is a fine guitarist, as much Rothery and Hackett as Petrucci and Romeo. But his virtuosity never gets in the way of the songs, and throughout the album his interjections, whether they be of muscle or melody, are a delight to the ear. Drummer Marcus Thorén and Rikard Wallström (bass) form a flexible yet watertight rhythm base – their work on the excellent Underwater is especially noteworthy, whilst keyboarder Erik Bauer keeps the orchestrations grandiose without dipping into uneccessary bombast, remaining tasteful at all times.

I particularly like Seventh Dimension’s refusal to simply throw the kitchen sink at the half dozen songs on offer here; They prefer to allow each song to breathe and develop on it’s own terms, ebbing and flowing as each composition demands. Only on final track Black Sky – Final Frontier do they come close to over indulgence, but even here – the song lasts over twenty five minutes – nothing sounds forced, or false, with the end result being an incredibly satisfying set of songs. Well worth a listen!

Of Hope & Ordeals releases on June 21st.