Artist: 7th Heaven 
   Title: Silver
   Label: NTD Records

I first came across 7th Heaven in early 2001 when I did an interview with them. Even then I could tell the band had such strength and determination in where they wanted to go with their music. Now here we are 3 years later after listening to what can only be described as one of the most impressive rock albums of 2004, it would appear the band have achieved a great many of those original goals.

For a mere $10 you get a highly polished double album containing no less than 30 monumental rock tracks, yes that gives a combined running time of almost 2 hours! Many of the songs on this album have the potential to become hugely popular in their own rights. Don’t waste your time trying to download it off the net; this album is so cheap even you can afford to take a chance on it. This isn’t merely an album you talk about to your friends, it’s an album you make a point of recommending to them safe in the knowledge you know they’ll thank you for it.

Def Leppard seems to be one of the major influences on a lot of the songs on the black disc. ‘Gravity’, ‘Cellophane’ and ‘Fall into You’ are key examples of this. However being a big fan of Harem Scarem I would say the songs would appeal to listeners in both those camps. Perfectly blended melodies with catchy guitar hooks and big infectious chorus’s that demand for audience participation seem to be the order of the day with these songs. It’s as if the band took out all the elements they themselves enjoy from these bands and combined their strengths into these tracks.

The bands mood leans slightly more towards Bono’s vocal style on ‘Kill the Cycle’. Then we have ‘Undone’ which gives us a glimpse of what HIM would sound like if they took a more mainstream approach to their songs. Starting with these two songs you begin to hint at the true diversity and imagination this band have put into this album and its musical content. You only have to venture to the next track ‘Ethereal’ to hear the band leap into yet another dimension of music. At first I wasn’t about this song because it sounded like a high powered boy band song. However after a couple of listens the intense industrial drum-beats won me over and I’ve since warmed to it.

Working your way through this album I found it hard to believe that singer Andrew Blake did do all the lead vocals on the album. The vocal styles are at times so extreme this guy’s voice is very Jekyll and Hyde in character.

One particular track that stands out a mile to me is ‘On the Inside’ with its classical guitar and drums which remind me very much of Blue Murder. Although once the vocals are added it ventures more towards classic Queensryche. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a band recapture this sound that was so popular in the 80’s, think ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ meets ‘Valley of the Kings’.

The closing track on the black disc ‘War Machine’ was actually first released on the bands last album ‘Faces time Replaces’. Which was such a big hit with the fans at the time that the band decided to tinker with it, and then re-release it in this collection of songs. It starts off by giving you the distinct impression it’s going to be another Def Leppard type track but then the biting guitars come in and the hard vocals hit out and it’s more akin to the newer material put out by Alice Cooper, or even dare I suggest Union Underground. If you appreciate the use of the samples of George Bush announcements used on this track then flick to ‘Shelter’ for more of the same.

‘Face of Terror’ is again more along the lines of the newer Alice Cooper songs with its sneering vocals that seem to mock the listener. Marvellous, I love it, but again I ask, is this really the same singer that sounds more Mike & The Mechanics in ‘Everlasting Love’?

Two songs I found hard to get away with are the nu-metal influenced ‘Truth’ and ‘Breaking me Up’. I suppose out of 30 songs that’s not bad going. ‘Truth’ is too close to Linkin Park for my liking and although I adore the guitars in parts the overall effect is just too in the face for me. ‘Breaking me Up’ isn’t quite so hard-core but I’m still not convinced.

By total contrast then we have ‘Erased’ which carries the listener along at a gentle but quirky pace that you might hear from a street busker on a lazy summer’s day. It’s the sort of song you would stand and listen to and just enjoy with its folk rock feel good vibes. Anyone remember the first time they heard George Michaels ‘Careless Whisper’? Remember the goosebumps you had down your spine? Well ‘Letting Go’ will have much the same effect on you and is such a lush ballad it’s one to save for those more intimate of moments.

If you like rock music, particularly the melodic rock, AOR, hard rock or pop/rock genres, then Silver should be a welcome additional to your collection. The band have put together a wide variety of styles and influences into their songs and have brought together a worthy offering to both the seasoned, as well as first time listener to the band. Highly polished and beautifully mastered and produced, it makes you wonder how these guys can put forward something so perfectly crafted when so many of the big boys seem to miss the target. You really can tell this was a labour of love for them from start to finish with no fillers or loose ends left in.

Tracklisting:

Black Disk:
1. Gravity
2. Cellophane
3. Kill the Cycle
4. Undone
5. Ethereal
6. Medicated
7. Fall into You
8. While you Dream
9. The One
10. Trembling
11. She
12. Broken
13. On the Inside
14. War Machine
Tracklisting:

White Disk:
1. Face of Terror
2. Everlasting Love
3. Invisible
4. Ordinary World
5. I still need You
6. Misunderstood
7. Truth
8. Erased
9. Letting Go
10. Shelter
11. This Pressure
12. Right by your Side
13. Cope
14. Windows
15. Breaking me Up
                  

 

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