|Musical Style: Power/Progressive Metal||Produced By: Rildo Veloso & Karim Serri|
|Record Label: Megahard||Country Of Origin: Brazil|
|Year Released: 2002||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 40%|
|Running Time: 58:06|
On its full length Megahard Records debut The Second Floor, Brazil's Seven Angels gives rise to an effective combination of power and progressive metal certain to appeal to fans of Destra, Eterna, Balance Of Power and Narnia. An exceptionally talented band in terms of its musicianship, Seven Angels leaves me blown away by the strength of its instrumental sound. Karim Serri will no doubt give fellow Brazillian guitarists Paulo Frade (Eterna) and Eduardo Parronchi (Destra) a run for their money. Drummer Eliezer Leite, at the same time, contributes an abundance of super fast double bass that brings to mind Danilo Lopes (Eterna). The work of keyboardist Rafael Friesen can come across a bit heavy in places but is otherwise without fault. So what is there not to like here? The lead vocals. To put it bluntly, vocalist Debora Serri fails to cut it. She certainly is not lacking in ability, but in terms of chemistry and continuity her vocal style fails to complement the guitar driven brand of metal found here. Put her in a different musical situation and she would do just fine. In other words, she is simply not a metal vocalist, and in no way is that a discredit to her or her God given ability.
The Second Floor features a strong production job characterized by clean and refined sounding sonics. A crisp rhythm guitar sound stands alongside an effective mix of lead guitar. The drums are produced to near perfection with the double bass upfront and cleanly defined. On the other hand, the bass guitar does not always stand out in the mix as it should, while the keyboards end up mixed a bit prominently on several tracks.
A combination of keyboards, strings and piano carries the directionless instrumental album opener "Death Overture" its extent.
Taking off with an abundance of guitar driven energy, the albums title track slows during its first verse only to pick back up in pace for a chorus perfectly accentuated by Leite's rapid double bass. Keyboards open an instrumental passage ending to a slowly played combination of piano and lead guitar. "The Second" floor describes the change God can make in an individuals life:
Lord, I've wasted my life in sin
And I've rejected Your Word
When I find the way, You give me a holy life
A plentiful life
Introduced to a drum solo, "Breathless Years" progresses to a fast paced double bass driven riff before slowing upon reaching its first verse. Just the right amount of crunchy rhythm guitar underscores a solid hook filled chorus. Serri tops things off with nearly a minute and a half of high quality lead guitar work.
The eight minute progressive influenced "Revelation" slowly fades in prior to moving forward to a crisp rhythm guitar, the hard hitting atmosphere maintained as the song attain a chorus carried at a good upbeat tempo. Seven Angels displays the strength of its musicianship throughout an awesome three minute long instrumental passage.
Opening to a combination of rhythm guitar and keyboards, "Deceiving Time" advances in a fast paced manner before keyboards move to the front of the mix and underscore a good melodic flavored chorus. Serri cuts loose with fiery guitar solo that transitions to a medieval flavored combination of flutes and violin.
The power ballad "The Wisdom Of His Majesty" slowly moves ahead to a mix of piano, acoustic guitar and strings until it builds in momentum and transitions to a chorus giving rise to a nice commercial feel. The piano remains in the forefront of the mix to underscore a brief emotionally charged guitar solo.
The piano and keyboards initiating "Purity" give way to a crunchy riff interlaced with a flute. Slowing slightly for its first verse, the pace of the song picks up for a chorus underlined by just the right amount of double bass. The instrumental passage that follows showcases a minute long lead guitar and keyboard trade off.
A combination of crisp rhythm guitar and double bass carries "Mask Of Sadness" over its first minute. After tapering upon reaching its first verse, the momentum of the song is regained for a strong energy-laden chorus. Seven Angels again displays the strength of its musicianship during an incredible two and a half long instrumental passage.
"Here I Am" begins in quickly moving fashion before keyboards move to the front of the mix at the start of its first verse, Leite's double bass replacing the keyboards as the song approaches a good striking chorus. Serri showcases his top notch abilities on lead guitar during the three minute long instrumental section that follows. “Here I Am” is a song of faith:
Feel the disgrace and walking through the pain
Rain of agony falling over me
Through nails and flames
For a little time I close my eyes
When I pray I think about the day
I met the Man who said
One way to live in sorrow
The way to be great
One way to give your life to the Lord
The progressive metal of "From Hills And Woods" showcases one of the albums strongest melody lines. Getting underway to a blend of rhythm guitar and keyboards, the song launches into a double bass driven riff that propels it to a sweeping chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. A lead guitar and keyboard trade off carries a nice extended instrumental passage.
Leave no stone left unturned. Leave no detail overlooked. These are the two important lessons to be learned from Seven Angels debut The Second Floor. The albums production and songwriting are both very good; the bands instrumental sound is nothing less than phenomenal. However, as previously stated, a less than stellar lead vocal performance significantly detracts from the projects value. The best way to sum up would be to say that if someone along the lines of Lance King (Pyramaze, Avian & Balance Of Power) handled lead vocals here I would have given the album a grade of at least 80%.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Death Overture" (1:33), "The Second Floor" (5:20), "Breathless Years" (5:05), "Revelation" (8:02), "Deceiving Time" (5:39), "The Wisdom Of His Majesty" (5:59), "Purify" (6:17), "Mask Of Sadness" (6:24), "Here I Am" (6:31), "From Hills And Woods" (7:11)
Debora Serri – Lead Vocals
Karim Serri – Guitars
Rafael Friesen – Keyboards
Ricardo Bagatelli – Bass
Eliezer Leite – Drums
Danilo Loyola – Violins
Claudio Viana – Flutes
Also Reviewed: Seven Angels - Faceless Man