Rising from Florida, Seven Kingdoms is a female-fronted power metal band, discovered by Lance King and signed to Nightmare Records to release worldwide their self-titled sophomore work. With a crapload of power metal bands infecting our heavy metal planet, especially from overseas, it takes more than a little novelty to make a difference. Having a female lead vocalist doesn't do it; they're a dime-a-dozen these days. Having ripping guitar work doesn't mean anything either; fiery licks are expected. So what will make Seven Kingdoms rise above the rest?
First, Sabrina Valentine's vocal talents are deceptively sublime. She's not a metal screamer (or grunter, thank God), but she can inspire with her range. Rather, Ms. Valentine is almost melancholy, but not near the pretentious operatic gothic vocals that seem necessary these days. She's both even and expansive, clear and constant. Listen to A Murder Never Dead for the latter. Second, while Seven Kingdoms has the power metal formula down, they turn their arrangements on interesting twists and segues You can hear this on Open the Gates or Vengeance by the Songs of a King. Finally, Seven Kingdoms has worked hard at blending the necessary power, heaviness, and melody into the breadth of their arrangements. They can even deliver some massive hooks as found in the catchy Wolf in Sheep's Clothes. Here also Ms. Valentine shows her range with a gutsy hard rock feel mixed with the metal. I'll bet she can sing the blues, too.
Flaws are few. However, listening almost came to a complete stop on The Ones Who Breath the Flames where Seven Kingdoms has some fool doing a death/black metal duet with Valentine. This was totally unnecessary, and immensely annoying. Seven Kingdoms are too good and have no need to succumb to this modern trend to be good or accepted. Fortunately, the work is redeemed by the excellent vocal addition of Wade Black (Crimson Glory) on the closing title number (but, still, that death vocalist fool raises his ugly head once again. Ugh!)
Seven Kingdom's self-titled sophomore release is solid and entertaining American power metal. Terrific melodic power metal arrangements are sent soaring thanks to Sabrina Valentine's wonderful vocals. The band stumbles only when they try to add a dose of modern dirty vocals. Otherwise, this is a great platter of melodic heavy metal. Very recommended!
Seven Kingdom's self-titled sophomore release is solid and entertaining American power metal. Terrific melodic power metal arrangements are sent soaring thanks to Sabrina Valentine's wonderful vocals. The band stumbles only when they try to add a dose of modern dirty vocals.