Saturday, April 28, 2012

7 Horns 7 Eyes: A Solid Debut Effort

The Seattle based metal band 7 Horns 7 Eyes formed in 2006 and released their self-titled EP in 2007. They quickly created a buzz and people began to notice them. They were handpicked to take part in Demon Hunter’s 2009 “Huntour” and then, the band seemed to quiet down. They did release a single in 2011, but we haven’t really heard much else out of them. Well, the band is back in a major way with their debut album entitled Throes of Absolution on Century Media Records. If you thought you knew who 7 Horns 7 Eyes are, you may just want to rethink that after listening to this new album.

Produced and mixed by guitarist Aaron Smith, along with being mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth), this debut album finds the band with a new focus and determination. It kicks off with “Divine Amnesty”, which starts off slow and haunting until the one minute mark and then a thunderous roar and the band crashes in. The on-set of chugging riffs, guttural, growling vocals and pulsating drums set a tone of urgency and determination by the guys. A blistering solo midway through helps to strengthen the fact that there is more going on here than just your typical death metal.

There are a few tracks on the album where the band lets off the gas and the chugging guitars become darker and more ominous. “Delusions” is one of those songs where they slow it down a bit and the playing becomes more technical. Now, when I say slow it down, I don’t mean slow as in a ballad, just slower than the in your face style that they use for the most part on the album.

“Vindicator”, possibly the strongest cut on the album, may start off slow, but it kicks into overdrive with the faster, chugging riffs. This is a song of complexity and layers that solidifies that these guys are truly talented musicians. The closing number, “Regeneration”, is an epic seven minute instrumental that features guitar god Jeff Loomis (formerly of Nevermore) and is a delight to the ears. The guitar work on this track is beyond impressive.
If there was a weak point on the album, it would be the vocals. JJ “Shiv” Polachek IV is great at the deep growls, but he is pretty much the same on each and every track. There’s no range or depth there and it grows old after a few tracks. If there were some highs to compliments the lows, then the vocal delivery would be more lasting and interesting to the listener.

Overall, this is a very impressive debut album from a band swimming in a sea of over saturated metal water. You may call them technical death metal or progressive death metal, but no matter what you call them, they rock. Aaron Smith and Sean Alf are a deadly two guitar assault. They complement each other very well and the way they can change up from slow, chugging riffs to more intricate and technical faster riffs is very impressive.

This is a very promising debut album from this band from Seattle. The city may have been once associated with grunge, but these guys are set on changing that stereotype. Throes of Absolution is a great addition to any metal fans library, regardless of however you choose to categorize it. Instead of worrying about labels, just sit back, crank it loud and let the melting of your faces begin.

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