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Seventh Key - "I Will Survive" (CD)

Seventh Key - "I Will Survive" CD cover image

"I Will Survive" track listing:

1. I Will Surivive
2. Lay It On The Line
3. I See You there
4. It's Just A State Of Mind
5. Sea Of Dreams
6. Time And Time Again
7. When Love Sets You Free
8. Down
9. The Only One
10. What's Love Suppose To Be
11. I Want It All

Reviewed by on January 13, 2014

"Superb musicianship certainly characterizes 'I Will Survive,' but like the counterparts in Kansas, Seventh Key also creates songs with memorable hooks and chorus lines."

"I Will Survive" marks the third studio album by Seventh Key, a group consisting of members of prog rock progenitors Kansas, City Boy, and Streets. In addition to having played together for over a decade with Seventh Key, guitarist/keyboardist Mike Slammer and Billy Greer (bass) have a history that extends much further back with Streets. This longevity and chemistry between the two is obvious. Superb musicianship certainly characterizes "I Will Survive," but like the counterparts in Kansas, Seventh Key also creates songs with memorable hooks and chorus lines.

Seventh Key wastes no time in putting forth its best hand on the opening title track. Bass, guitar and organ keys move in smooth cohesion and when Greer's soft voice enters the foray, these parts provide a rise and fall in action, ultimately landing at a triumphant (think Triumph), motivational chorus line. Triumph seems to be a reference band on "I Will Survive," as the next song bears the same name as a Triumph hit, "Lay It On The Line." Regardless of the song's title bringing to mind another group, this track also thrives on a strong melody, one of ascending notes, to serenade the coming chorus lines.

Speed and pounding drum skins are not part of the album's cosmology. However, Slammer's guitar riffs do lend the album an occasional part to rock out to. "Lay It On The Line" features Slammer bending and picking away some tight grooves. On "When Love Sets You Free," the group steps back to a time when rock bands could associate a heavy riff with a love song. Speaking of stepping back in time, "What Love Is Suppose to Be" revives memories of youth dances--moving in step to power ballads by bands such as Journey and REO Speedwagon. Hide this track from your lovers, hardcore metal dudes, they may just force you to a slow dance!

"Dust In the Wind" is often the first song people think of when Kansas is mentioned. While Seventh Key didn't employ a guest appearance by Kansas violinist Robby Steinhardt, who briefly appeared with the band in 2005, David Ragsdale's violin definitely helps the band revisit the same type of melody as "Dust in the Wind," further adding to the mood created by Slammer's acoustic guitar. He again adds a dramatic flavor to the love ballad "What Love's Suppose To Be."

Seventh Key's "I Will Survive" delivers exactly what people expect from a band with strong links to Kansas. While some of the love songs may give the album a sappy liner, the band's expert song writing, premiere musical skill, and over-the-top chorus lines make it a must-hear prog album for all fans of the genre, especially the classic era.

Highs: The band's melody, violins, and tight musicianship.

Lows: Some of the power ballads are a bit sappy.

Bottom line: Prog fans will dig it, especially fans of Kansas, but extreme metallers will probably overlook this album.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)