|Musical Style: Progressive Rock||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2007||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 7||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 45:02|
Peoria, Illinois is home to 7th Overture and the progressive based sound of its aptly entitled 2007 full length debut 70 X 7. A band that can trace its history back to 2003, 7th Overture draws heavily upon the influence of 70s style progressive rock while mixing in touches of the guitar driven heaviness characteristic to the current progressive metal scene. 70 X 7 best reflects these elements on “Forgiveness”, “Sweetest Day” and “End Of My Road”, three intricate tracks in which 7th Overture exhibits the strength of its instrumental prowess in no uncertain terms. “Redemption” delivers a more melodic based sound – terrific hook on this one – and “Press On” a dose of straightforward hard rock that almost comes across bluesy in places. The albums two instrumental pieces, “Sin Disease” and “Overtures #7”, also find 7th Overture putting forth an abundant display of its top of the line musicianship. All in all, fans of Kansas, Styx and Yes should be able to get into this one as will those into Darkwater, Suspyre and Delorean (for the over the top progressiveness displayed here).
Todd Simpson brings a smooth sounding, mostly mid-octave vocal style – nice classic rock feel to his delivery – that sounds right at home in the albums progressive based atmosphere. (It is worth noting, however, that Todd departed the group only to be recently replaced by former Torman Maxt vocalist Martin DeBourge). But it is guitarist Justin Hoffman who truly stands out, lending his first class shredding to “Forgiveness”, “End Of My Road” and “Sweetest Day” (not to mention the albums instrumental tracks). I find his style to be quite electrifying and fast paced, reflecting a heavy 80s influence that brings to mind Dan Cummins (Delorean) or even Dee Harrington of Saint. A layered 70s style keyboard sound is contributed by Shane Rocke, who rounds out the bands line up with the rhythm section of bassist T. Lane and drummer Troy Teaney.
Production values are a bit dry and flat. The rhythm guitar, for instance, can come across on the thin side of things while the low end could pack more punch and power. As with many independent bands, this is an area that will improve with time and experience.
It must be noted the forthright and open lyrics stance taken by 7th Overture in addressing topics ranging from running the race to win, perseverance and forgiveness.
The keyboard based introduction to “Redemption” gradually builds in force until the rhythm guitar crashes into the mix. Transitioning to a passage featuring narration from I Corinthians 15:1-8, the song maneuvers through its first and second verse at a mid-tempo clip prior to evening out for a chorus of a smooth sounding variety. Narration from Colossians 1:10-14 closes things out. Musically, I would rate this with the albums better tracks and appreciate the scripture reading; on the other hand, the narration sounds too much like some guy in the studio talking into a microphone (similar to the narration on Revelation Project’s debut). Irregardless, “Redemption” comes aptly named:
I won’t let darkness come into the Light
Law convicts you from wrong and what’s right
Obey and you’re righteous in His sight
Through the Blood I pass from death to life
We receive, eternal life
We were bought at such a high price
“Forgiveness” commences to an exalted two and a half minute long instrumental introduction carried by an even blend of rhythm guitar and keyboards. The song proceeds to taper off quietly at the start of its first verse, gently drifting ahead until the rhythm guitar returns hard and heavy to provide the backdrop of a sweeping chorus talking about Christ’s sacrifice:
But 2000 years ago
The Lamb was slain and so
There’s an end to the pain
When eternal life’s been gained
Forgiveness from above
Through God’s grace and love
“Forgiveness” closes out its final minute to an instrumental section allowing Hoffman to show off his abundant abilities on lead guitar.
The instrumental “Sin Disease” begins to an open air rhythm guitar before kicking into high gear and taking off at an upbeat tempo. Rollicking ahead, the song proves quite the driving piece as an extensive keyboard solo – straight from the seventies – highlights the animated scene. Hoffman soon steps forward on lead guitar and adds a length stretch of soloing.
You have to love the three minute instrumental based opening to “End Of My Road”- beginning calmly before a hard hitting guitar riff takes over. Soon segueing to a crescendo of pounding drums and majestic lead guitar, the song maintains the determined focus only to suddenly taper off to a Kansas-like piano at the start of its first verse. “End Of My Road” continues to gently waft ahead only to regain its guitar driven initiative for a chorus delivered with a surfeit of emotionally charged momentum. Running the race to win is the subject matter here:
But I will not fall very far
I’ll pick myself back up
And I’m gonna try again
I’m gonna try again
And I will not fall very far
Jesus lifts me up
I’m gonna try again
“Sweetest Day” gently moves forward from the start until a heavy duty guitar riff abruptly steps forward, leading the way with full authority until the spirited tempo gradually tapers off. An almost ethereal atmosphere is established as the song slowly navigates its first and second verse, the pace picking back up when the rhythm guitar returns at the start of the three minute instrumental section that ensues (I love the jazz-fusion feeling exuded throughout the passage in which a forward bass line stands in support of a piano). With its creative time changes and abundant instrumental portions, you have to place “Sweetest Day” among the albums more creative pieces. Lyrically, the song almost comes across worshipful in feel:
The day that I met You, Lord, was the sweetest day of my life
Now that I know You, Lord, you relieved me of my strife
Dreams of a life with You
So beautifully etched in my mind
You’re so wonderful to me, Lord, loving, caring and kind
“Press On” gets underway at an upbeat tempo, immediately launching into its driving chorus before moving on to a keyboard driven instrumental section. Upon reaching its first verse, the song tapers off to a more restrained – almost bluesy – pace only to again transition back to instrumental territory (another energetic run of lead guitar from Hoffman). As its title implies, “Press On” talks about perseverance:
Well, times are tough
The road to Heaven my be rough
And you fell like giving up
Your life today slowly fades away
The thing you must do
To help get you through
Is to push the past behind
Focus on the goal
To save your soul
And cross that finish line
The album closes to the eight minute instrumental “Overtures #7”. The blend of keyboards and piano introducing the song abruptly gives way to a razor sharp guitar riff, a plethora of grit laden impetus leading the way until Hoffman showcases more of his ardent abilities on lead guitar. “Overtures #7” tapers off slowly at its halfway point to a forward mix of rhythm guitar, the jagged-edge attitude upheld until things slow even further for another keyboard and piano based passage- all the while a bluesy run of soloing decorates the background.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Redemption” (5:30), “Forgiveness” (5:44), “Sin Disease” (5:42), “End Of My Road” (6:29), “Sweetest Day” (7:22), “Press On” (5:36), “Overtures #7” (8:37)
Todd Simpson – Lead Vocals
Justin Hoffman – Guitars
Shane Rocke – Keyboards
T. Lane – Bass
Troy Teaney - Drums