What’s the result when you combine one of the most respected jazz guitarists on the UK circuit, with the thick and bassy tones of US progressive metal, and a richly-voiced vocalist whose singing is both harsh and melodic simultaneously? Seven7, a name to be reckoned with in prog circles and sporting five members at the top of their respective games.
Their latest album, The Follower, is being reissued for the North American audience, who will delight in the stylistic mesh that unfolds on this album. Drawing as much from the band’s various interests outside of metal as well as within the genre, the result is a honed slab of progressive and groove-driven metal that also recalls elements of jazz, world music, classical and Eastern influences. From within the rock and metal world, the album can draw comparisons to Alice In Chains, Fear Factory and Fates Warning, all wrapped in a thick and heavy production.
Having formed in 2005 and gigged regularly around the country, the band are a tight unit of top-notch players, and this shows across their three releases. Seven7 contain a veritable pedigree of names. Swiss guitarist Nicolas Meier has leant his talents to names such as Jeff Beck and several big names in jazz and prog, as well as leading his own band under the same name. His style draws from an adoration of Turkish and Eastern music, as well as jazz and flamenco, all making for fascinating riffs and melodies in Seven7’s maelstrom. Dave Brown initially started as a drummer on the British circuit, but since the 90s has been developing his unique vocal abilities, drawing as much from rockers Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as from the American grunge scene that spawned Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. Sally Jo from Perth, Australia, brings a wealth of experience from her time training in classical music and her world fusion band Saharadja, as well as more recently with London metallers Splintered Soul, where bassist Arran McSporran also displays his talents with fretless bass. The virtuoso bassist will also be familiar to those who follow London-based progressive death metallers De Profundis. Like Meier, he also professes a love for Turkish, flamenco and jazz techniques, which can be heard clearly in his writing. Finally, drummer Luke Nelson has quickly established himself as a deft hand at a variety of genre styles, although quickly discovered metal as his calling, and his talents were quickly picked up by Meier.
Praise for previous albums:
“Seven words to describe SEVEN7: melodic, technical, trippy, tribal, innovative, heavy, versatile…” – Terrorizer
“Imagine Slipknot’s instrumentalists playing Metallica’s “Live S&M”, with the bastard son of Hetfield and Zakk Wylde singing. Ooh and Steve Vai playing on top of a mountain. Epic non-power metal.” – Metal Hammer
“All the members of Seven7 are flawless on their respective instruments. 10/10” – Paul Vidal, bassplayersunited.com
“An exciting mixture of brutal Metal riffage, precise Progressive power and virtuoso guitar playing that shredders will wee themselves over.” –Sea Of Tranquility
Dave Brown – Vocals
Nicolas Meier – Guitars, Glissentar and Baglama
Arran McSporran – Fretless Bass
Luke Nelson – Drums and Percussion
Sally Jo – Electric Violin
Progressive metal is one of the most diverse beasts of heavy music, open to incorporating generic influences from a bewildering range of sources. So if a band like Seven7 mentions influences as diverse as classical, flamenco, jazz and Middle Eastern music, as well as more conventional names in progressive and groove metal, you can believe the music contained within is going to be a fascinating cluster of songs to unwrap and unravel.
Having already established their position at the forefront of progressive metal, Seven7 unveil their third record The Follower. An abundance of powerful riffs emerge from acclaimed guitarist Nicolas Meier, across a backdrop of thick yet masterful bass work and top-notch drumming, and a richly voiced frontman tops it off with his burly rock singing. Taking cues from a myriad of names such as Fates Warning, Alice In Chains and Carl Orff, The Follower is a fascinating listen with much to discover.
Each of the tracks owns its unique facets: the Eastern feel adorning the guitar work in “Palms” and “Business” complement the rumbling tones underneath, with Dave Brown showcasing his grunge-inflected tones in the dark choruses. Meanwhile, the title track evokes a classic 80s progressive metal ambience, and “Magic Box” is a swinging groove-infused number. Perhaps the pièce de resistance of the album, however, is in “Euthanasia”, easily the most original reinterpretation to date of Carl Orff’s classical masterpiece “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana. A track, and album, that demands to be experienced for its breadth of vision and depth of execution.
The Follower is available on Bandcamp.
View the video for single “Free”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRnRkIJ5mK4
View the video for single “Fall”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBBhBYTYYM0
View the Making Of video for “Fall”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB3LxdSplTo
All lyrics by Dave Brown
All music by Nicolas Meier
Recorded at MGP Studios in Guildford, UK
Mixed and Mastered by Dave Hollingworth and Rabea Massaad
Artwork by Songul Yilmaz-Meier
The Follower (2014)
Under Eye (2011)
Try Something Different (2009)