Seventh Wonder - Tiara review
|Release date:||October 2018|
02. The Everones
03. Dream Machines
04. Against The Grain
06. Tiara's Song (Farewell Part 1)
07. Goodnight (Farewell Part 2)
08. Beyond Today (Farewell Part 3)
09. The Truth
10. By The Light Of The Funeral Pyres
11. Damnation Below
In 2008, Seventh Wonder released Mercy Falls, a near-perfect concept album seemingly written and performed by demigods, including the coolest prog singer the world had discovered since Roy Khan in Conception. Just like Roy Khan before him, Tommy Karevik eventually joined Kamelot, and life happened to the other members, so the break between their Mercy Falls follow-up The Great Escape and Tiara was eight years long. That's a long time to spend waiting for an album - you can ask me, I got into the band in 2009.
Seventh Wonder's style is fairly maximalist prog metal. When other bands write melodies like theirs, entire suites are built around them; in Seventh Wonder songs they get replaced very quickly in an endless succession of wondrous twists, which eventually form a song, and then each of the songs aligns perfectly into the puzzle of a full album. This absolute musical narrative mastery is their biggest strength - and several years later, it gets a point knocked off Tiara's score in my head, because when your very style is about doing The Most, you will inevitably end up repeating yourself.
Don't get me wrong: we're not grading on a curve here. Great music is great music. But until the "Farewell"-suite, at times I had the feeling that I was listening to a patchwork of previous Seventh Wonder songs. During the suite, we reach a very human part of the story, so the boys dip into their dreamy ballad style. Whenever they tackle the topic of family and the feelings of parents and children, they write in a very sincere (some would say corny) and sweet (some would say sugary) style, and I loved everything they depicted in this manner, from the death lament in "One Last Goodbye" to the very mundane yet complex feeling of locking yourself out of a house you dislike spending time in anyway (yes, really) in "Long Way Home". On Tiara, it's an apocalyptic event, and they cook us low and slow until the all-out assault of "By The Light Of The Funeral Pyres". The album ends on the very high note of "Exhale", which might be Tommy's most impressive performance.
It appears that the story of Tiara unfolds (I guess!) some time after the ship/habitat of Aniara in The Great Escape's titular epic track leaves Earth - the human race is faced with the final reckoning, and those who will judge us aren't impressed by the score of our accomplishments. One girl, Tiara, is chosen to convince them we are worthy of continued existence. That's about everything I can gather - the promo copy came without a lyric sheet and the vocals are a little low in the mix.
Which brings me to my next point. I tend to never mention how I like the sound because you never know whether that's just how the promo stream sounds, but the vocals and the bass just aren't where I like them to be in Seventh Wonder. The bass in particular is a disappointment for me, because Andreas Blomqvist is very important in the band's sound and I was really looking forward to hearing more of his tricks. The drums are a painful spot for modern metal production, but I thought Stefan Norgren's studio debut for the band sounded great.
Overall, Tiara is a triumph despite a few of my issues with it. Moreover, it's an album I am incredibly happy to have and spend time with. Fingers crossed we'll get another one before 2026.
||Written on 11.10.2018 by|
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