Seven Spires – “Emerald Seas” (Frontiers Music)
Battle Helm Rating
If you crave bittersweet tales of demons, death and love, then Seven Spires have it in lashings on this highly emotional release. Graduates of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, vocalist / keyboardist Adrienne Cowan was handpicked by Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Kamelot, Epica, etc) to front his new band, Sascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony as well as be one of the touring vocalists for the hugely popular Avantasia! Collaborating with Paeth also on their debut, “Solveig” was released following a highly successful crowdfunding campaign after which Seven Spires toured the USA and Canada, playing at festivals such as Metal Days, 70,000 Tons Of Metal and ProgPower USA. Besides the incredible vocals of Cowan, whose range more than ably covers everything from tenderly beautiful to demonically possessed (!), the other undoubted talent is guitarist Jack Kosto, whose equally skilled axework is the perfect match for Cowan, together forming an incredible duo whose classy blend of emo AOR and operatic symphonic metal is etched across the 13 tracks of this magnificent sophomore. What grabs you immediately is the energy of the music that is overwhelming in its catchiness and dramatic power, as well as the passion that comes across time and again in the performance of the band members themselves, clearly showing they are playing from their hearts – and enjoying every minute of it too I might add! As such, that joy is hard to resist and as you too are caught up in its emotional embrace on songs like ‘Every Crest’, whose bountiful electric and acoustic guitar melodies blend ever so classily with Cowan’s dancing symphonic keys before her alluring voice beckons you to ‘…follow me into the darkness, stay by my side and ride with me…’, you acknowledge why Seven Spires are one of the most promising bands around. Starting tenderly enough on ‘Unmapped Darkness’, angelic tones blend with demonic growls and she-wolf wails (wow!) as Cowan shows what all the fuss is about as she is dualled by some harsh male vocals while the main melody of the song is yet another devastating heartbreaker – and that’s before Kosto piles in even more wailing guitar while showcasing his own virtuoso breaks. Bringing in some flowing orchestrals and delicate piano on ‘Bury You’, the huge main melody just drives into you and when combined with Cowan’s power soulful highs and Kosto’s wailing guitar, it’s safe to conclude that you’ll sailing away in undeniable bliss to Seven Spires. Reducing me to a complete blubbing wreck in “Emerald Seas” all I can say is: “Twilight”, eat your heart out.