Sunday, 29 April 2018

Album Review: Seven Sisters 'The Cauldron and the Cross'

As heavy metal pioneers continue to depart this world, leaving us with musical gems that will no longer be played in their full, live glory, the future of live music in this genre continues to worry fans. However, when a band like London's Seven Sisters pull yet another wonder out of their denim bag of tricks, that worry most certainly subsides. After seeing them play tracks from new album The Cauldron and the Cross at a packed-out, sold-out Black Heart in Camden, we knew we had to get our hands on a copy- and just look at the artwork!

Opening track 'The Premonition' wastes no time throwing you right into the deep end with continuous heavy riffing and battered skins, coated beautifully with now very familiar leads from guitar duo Farmer and McNeill. Perfectly titled as the flawlessly fused instruments create a sense of panic juxtaposed well with the telling tones of Kyle McNeill's pipes and the change in tempos throughout. Most certainly a sign of things to come.

Eased into 'Blood and Fire' and 'Once and Future King', the cleaner, smoother production on this record supplies the band with an increased sense of confidence and clarity. These tracks and their more simplistic rhythm provide ample opportunity for each instrument to shine, as individual influences from many sub-genres of metal start to expose themselves. 

The inspiration taken from Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel 'The Mists of Avalon' is most evident from here onward as the fantastical elements battle through into song 'Parting the Mists' which may well be my favourite track on the album. The vocal harmonies meet effortlessly with the dual guitars as Loftin's smooth drums power on through and team up with Javi's bass, creating a sturdy rhythm section throughout. The musicianship and skill is impressive and makes for an atmospheric, thought-provoking piece of music. 

As we travel through to perfect sing-a-long material in the form of the very powerful 'Turning of the Tide', Graeme and Kyle once again treat us with a handful of guitar solos which really hit you in the gut. We're then seamlessly led into the very necessary ballad 'Oathbreaker' which naturally leaves us grabbing dramatically at the air before a Norum-Malmsteen edged solo is thrust upon us.  The next track, 'A Land in Darkness'  with it's heavy, power metal driven gallops evokes images of battle and victory with some seriously solid changes in tempo and refrain.

The album ends on a tremendous high with a title track in 2 parts. With part 1 being nearly 8 minutes long, it's triumphant with some truly impressive guitar work and a solo which stays with you through to Part 2. Different, this part builds slowly with an emotive vocal performance from Kyle backed with undertones of Medieval England shortly broken by robust shredding and speed. No other way to end an album like this.

From their first demo The Warden to their first self-titled album released in 2016, these London lads have been no stranger to the underground heavy metal scene. Being one of the most hard-working bands in London has well and truly paid off. The Cauldron and the Cross is so varied and dynamic. An outstanding album from start to finish where Seven Sisters have truly mastered their own sound and style which they embrace with full force and power.

Score: 5/5

You can get your copy of The Cauldron and the Cross here. 

Writer: Kayleigh MG

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