Seven7 – ‘Under Eye’, MGP Records; 2011

Two years have passed since the release of debut album ‘Try Something Different‘, and already Londoners Seven7 have upped their game with an “epic” record in their field of progressive rock/groove metal. That is to say, that where some bands opt to repeat themselves the second time around – a tactic that could go either hit or miss – Seven7 have actually chosen to rethink their sound on a bigger scale – making ‘Under Eye‘ a stand apart release from various other records under the groove label.

To its merit, ‘Seven7’ is good enough to avoid being over-reliant on sound samples of other musical cultures for its textured content. Nonetheless, it’s the borrowing from other musical cultures which actually makes this album quite interesting for its aforementioned “epic” scale.

The obvious way in which this happens is through a mix of global atmospheres to Seven7’s established crushing, groove sounds. Sitar-influenced notes and drumbeats inspired by the Middle Eastern duff may evoke ideas of the exotic for many, yet next to the groove guitars on tracks like ‘Boy Drowns Girl‘ and ‘Run‘ they get a metaphorical purpose. The audience is made to travel back and forth between musical climates thanks to this, which could easily be overly self-indulgent had the band chosen to waffle on that side of the songwriting.

Likewise is the use of European orchestra, later in the album. Playing a popular sample from “The Nutcracker” and then following it up with a heavier rendition for electric guitar is nothing unique on paper; the audible effect though is a typically complex piece that works well for Seven7‘s style. Tchaikovsky’s work is translated into stomping rhythms that entangle one another, before monotone d-beats expound this pattern. The result is a sense of a wider picture to the listener, which comes through without feeling disjointed or too hackneyed to hear. In truth, it makes Seven7 come across as clever, rather than pretentious in both musicianship and instrumentation.

As a a whole, ‘Under Eye‘ makes for a fascinating playback to the audience. The album offers more of the well-written, textured riffs and American Southern accent from the last record, at the same time showing off the band’s avid musicianship for taking an ordinary formula – borrowing other cultural sounds for progressive rock/groove metal – and actually making it work.

7/10

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1 Comment

  1. An enjoyable review… I’ll have to check out this album from Seven7. Anytime a band can stray from the norm and not sound hollow about it is a welcomed listen to my ears!


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