"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Seven Kingdoms - "The Fire Is Mine" (CD)

Seven Kingdoms - "The Fire Is Mine" CD cover image

"The Fire Is Mine" track listing:

1. Beyond the Wall (1:17)
2. After the Fall (5:41)
3. Forever Brave (5:11)
4. Flame of Olympus (4:54)
5. Symphony of Stars (5:37)
6. The Fire Is Mine (5:38)
7. Kardia (4:55)
8. Fragile Minds Collapse (6:03)
9. In the Twisted Twilight (5:01)
10. A Debt Paid in Steel (0:56)
11. The King in the North (7:50)

Reviewed by on December 2, 2012

"Musically, Seven Kingdoms accomplishes the euro-style power, absent grandiose and bombastic keyboard orchestrations. Here it is straight up, guitar driven, and in your face..."

One of the coolest things I learned about Seven Kingdoms in my upcoming interview with guitarist Camden Cruz is that the group’s mission is to create an American power metal band for the younger generation fans to look up to like my generation did with greats like Metal Church (yeah, we called them “thrash” back then), Jag Panzer, Chastain, Agent Steel and so many others. In Cruz’s opinion, the U.S. lacked a euro-style power metal act that can spark fans and encourage the power metal scene in the U.S. to thrive like it once did. Unabashedly, and quite unapologetic, Cruz is flat out proud to call his band power metal. I liked his attitude and agreed with his mission, especially since he had no disrespect to the many struggling power acts that do currently exist here (Lorenguard and Cage come to mind), but really wants to raise the bar. In a sense, he is right about euro-style power metal in the U.S. When you think American metal, that style doesn’t come to the forefront for the majority of the fanbase. With its third album, and second as a female-fronted straight forward power metal act, Seven Kingdoms accomplishes that goal.

Now with an energetic marketing push, including debuting the “After the Fall” music video at ProgPower USA, the band stands ready to claim that throne and spawn a generation of new bands from the U.S. I can only hope it can happen. It is amazing how far vocalist Sabrina Valentine has come in just one album and just two years from being introduced to metal. Just before joining Seven Kingdoms, Sabrina may have well been the next contestant on American Idol. Rescued from a life of pseudo-dance pop music, Valentine flashed her pipes on the bands self-titled sophomore reboot as a serious power metal act. Former vocalist Bryan Edwards remains a writer for the band and closely tied to its existence. Valentine turned some heads with the previous album, and on “The Fire is Mine” she is already counted among America’s finest female metal singers and brightest hopes. Behind her talent, is a team of fantastic musicians, including Cruz.

Musically, Seven Kingdoms accomplishes the euro-style power, absent grandiose and bombastic keyboard orchestrations. Here it is straight up, guitar driven, and in your face with Valentine’s smooth almost lulling “hum” style vocals that go to majestically high. As one might expect, lyrically the band is solidly within the realm of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” (now best known as “Game of Thrones”). Stereotypical lyrics perhaps? Well, Seven Kingdoms does this purposely, complete with a giant middle finger.

Sure, I can talk about how great “After the Fall” is as a song, but so many have heard it that many have already passed their own judgments. As for the rest of the album, “Symphony of Stars” is a standout track, a speedy number with an electrifying solo. “Kardia” is a beautiful ballad, reminiscent of the song “A Murder Never Dead” from the previous album, but here with so much more maturity in Valentine’s style, especially the much deeper delivery, akin to Simone Simons. “Forever the Brave” and “The King in the North” are sure to please the power metal base.

Seven Kingdoms have arisen to grab the throne of the “new wave” of U.S. power metal acts. However, in "Stark" contrast to any of those current movements, this band seeks to re-charge and re-group the fledgling American power metal acts and sparks a movement like the one from the early to mid-80's for a new generation to enjoy. I say its about time...and “the fire is theirs.”

Highs: Straight forward euro-power blast, but from the States!

Lows: It is a pretty typical style complete with all those stereotypes that certain fans despise.

Bottom line: Seven Kingdoms sparks the flame for a new realm U.S. power metal...not too "starkly" different from a previous generation.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 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)