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Seven Kingdoms - "Decennium" (CD)

Seven Kingdoms - "Decennium" CD cover image

"Decennium" track listing:

1. Stargazer
2. Undying
3. In the Walls
4. The Tale of Deathface Ginny
5. Castles in the Snow
6. Kingslayer
7. The Faceless Hero
8. Neverending
9. Hollow
10. Awakened from Nothing
11. In the Walls (EP master)
12. Undying (EP master)
13. The Bloody Meadow (2017 Re-recording)
14. Stormborn (2017 Re-recording)

Reviewed by on June 19, 2017

"Having heard some of the maturation of the material for some time now, the progression of this brilliant band in terms of performance, sound and writing is immeasurable."

In the world of metal promotion, no band is more relentless than Seven Kingdoms. The Deland, Florida act is an inspiration for other U.S. power metal acts and a testament of hard work and total dedication. In fact, no one I know is more dedicated to the entire world of music from song writing to tour manager than guitarist Camden Cruz. They say hard work and dedication pays off in the end…. and to that end comes “Decennium” and perhaps the pinnacle of the band’s discography.

As I write this, the group is on a massive North American tour and the album has been issued via Napalm Records, a deal struck on the heels of an immensely successful crowdfunding campaign. Having heard some of the maturation of the material for some time now, the progression of this brilliant band in terms of performance, sound, and writing is immeasurable. After what was an incredibly impressive third album “The Fire Is Mine” (the video for “After the Fall” was shown literally EVERYWHERE) in 2012, the band spent a meticulous amount of time fine tuning the craft. “Decennium” takes everything that was impressive about “The Fire Is Mine” and added even more bald eagles, American flags, and AK-47s to the overtly American arsenal, but in the form of orchestration, riffs, and memorability.

Listening to vocalist Sabrina Cruz growing before my ears over the last seven years has been a real highlight, especially in terms of harnessing that incredible talent “in[to] the [confined] walls” of power metal. Her personality and kindness in reality is replaced by tons of power on “Decennium.” Picture the trademark base of Simone Simons, but add more force and much less opera. The perfect example can be found in the stellar track “Castles in the Snow” and the opening salvo “Stargazer,” though admittedly at points, she sounds a bit too sweet for the riffs that surround her voice. It certainly isn’t an easy task for a woman to crack the smaller, rabid, and highly elitist fanbase of power metal, but if there was ever a woman that has come into her own in the subgenre, it’s Sabrina.

Camden Cruz and Kevin Byrd bring the riff assault in the instant classics “The Tale of Deathface Ginny” with its nod to Blind Guardian (and probably one of the best songs in the entire Seven Kingdoms discography), and the blistering assault of “Kingslayer” and “The Faceless Hero.” The choice to re-record older material always has diehards holding their breath, but the addition of “The Bloody Meadow” and “Stormborn”(with original vocalist Bryan Edwards) was a treat.

With the holy union of Jim Morris and Jacob Hansen, the sound of “Decennium” is nothing short of killer. Add one of the most unique covers ever created by one of the top 3 artists in the word - Dusan Markovic – and you have all the makings of a complete visual and sonic package.

Seven Kingdoms continues to ascend the ladder of metal and make a mark on the scene and “Decennium” will only serve to propel the band on a global scale. Now with the backing of Austria’s Napalm Records, the band should see a much bigger push in Europe. All of the hard work and dedication is paying off and Camden Cruz and company are well deserved for it.

Highs: Seven Kingdoms continues to rise in the world of power metal!

Lows: Sabrina's immense talent will sometimes sound a bit too sweet for the style.

Bottom line: Seven Kingdoms continues to ascend the ladder of fine power metal!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)