Album Reviews

Seven Spires – Emerald Seas

Boston- based Symphonic metal band, Seven Spires, made a huge splash on the metal scene back in 2017 with their independent full length album debut titled. When I reviewed the debut for Lady Obscure, I stated:

Lead vocalist/frontwoman Adrienne Cowan. Cowan is nothing short of a revelation as a vocalist/performer. Her vocal style is a combination of former Kamelotsinger Roy Khan, Alissa White-Gluz(formerly of The Agonist/ current Arch Enemyvocalist), and the black metal influences of Shagrathof Dimmu Borgirand Nergalfrom Behemoth. Cowan’s confidence and natural charisma make her a consummate, captivating performer despite her young age. This goes for the other members of the Seven Spires. Guitarist Jack Kosto(taught by renowned Holy Hell guitarist Joe Stump as well as Nitroguitarist Michael Angelo Batio) is a masterful guitar player with an amazing tone as well as writing some of the most tasteful guitar solos with a melodic sensibility that serves the song and never overplays for the sake of shredding similar to the style of Kamelot’s Thomas Youngblood. The rhythm section of bassist Peter de Reynaand drummer Chris Dovasare the perfect compliment to each other, playing with feel, groove, precision, and technicality.

Three years later, Seven Spires released their sophomore effort, Emerald Seas on February 14, 2020, on new label Frontiers Records. The band once again collaborated with Avantasia mastermind Sascha Paeth, who mixed and mastered Emerald Seas. Cowan was also handpicked by Paeth to front his new band Masters of Ceremony and has been a touring vocalist for Avantasia for several years now. As a band, Seven Spires has performed at internationally recognized metal festivals such as Slovenia’s Metal Days, 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise, and Atlanta based ProgPower USA festival.

All of the trademarks of Seven Spires sound are evident on Emerald Seas. Combining bittersweet melodic metal anthems, apocalyptic melodic death and black metal, and Romantic era Classical poets, Spires are storytellers who draw from across the traditional spectrum of metal and beyond to weave haunting tales of demons, death, love, and the intricacies of the human condition. 

Emerald Seas is a prequel which finds the main character, Solveig, who is the demon character from the first album. Emerald Seas follows Solveig’s journey as he is searching for the cure for mortality. Solveig captains a magic ship that follows the heart’s deepest desire. The level of songwriting, musicianship, and lyrical content has grown by leaps and bounds from the debut album.

The album begins with the haunting intro track Igne Defendit sets the tone with a choral vocal and Cowan’s mesmerizing high-pitched vocals reaching for the stratosphere over a bombastic orchestration and symphonic musical soundscape. This blends into the first proper track, the heavy Ghost of A Dream, a Spanish flamenco infused melodic metal song. Cowan’s charasmatic vocals blend melody and ferocious black metal stylings perfectly. Guitarist Jack Kosto shows off his considerable chops with precision and keen sense of melodic composition.

No Words Exchanged is a shorter interlude track featuring a beautiful vocal melody from Cowan whose talent truly shines throughout and shows how much her vocal ability has matured since their debut. Every Crest is a melodic metal song that harkens back to Black Halo-era Kamelot, one of Seven Spires biggest band influences. The song has a perfect blend of Cowan’s melodic range as well as the harsh blackened vocals that are interspersed perfectly throughout the song.

Unmapped Darkness is a standout track which has a beautiful melody line and a ridiculously catchy refrain that has a sweetness to Cowan’s vocals straight out of a Disney musical combined with chugging metal riffs and pounding drums and bass. Succumb continues with the full-on metal aural assault to the senses with it’s driving drum beats courtesy of Chris Dovas and the intricate bass lines of Pete de Reyna. Cowan’s soaring vocal melodies carry the listener on an epic journey while Kosto’s sweeping arpeggios and neo-classical style playing are incredibly impressive considering his young age.

The band goes full-on symphonic black metal on Drowner of Worlds. Cowan’s guttural vocals are on par with any of her contemporaries in the genre such as Alissa White Gluz, Dani Filth or Shagrath. The tones shifts once again on Silvery Moon, a folk-infused ballad with a beautiful soft vocal performed by Ms. Cowan and lush orchestration and gorgeous guitar work. The lighter side of the band continues into the next song, Bury You, with it’s introspective lyrics and Cowan’s powerful and emotive vocal delivery. The band return to the blackened death side of their musical journey on Fearless, which finds Cowan trading off melodic and guttural vocals during the chorus over the symphonic black metal cacophany. The beautifully serene brief interlude With Love From The Other Side segues into The Trouble With Eternal Life, another high energy power metal masterpiece with nods to classic Kamelot. Dovas’ double kick mastery drives the song as Cowan delivers another powerful vocal performance over sweeping orchestral arrangements and Kosto’s chugging guitar rhythms.

The album closes with the beautifully cinematic orchestrated instrumental title track, a perfect way to close this epic tale. Seven Spires proves on Emerald Seas that the sky is the limit when it comes to their creativity and vision. I look forward to the next chapter in the epic journey of this talented band.

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