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7 Horns 7 Eyes - "Throes of Absolution" (CD)

7 Horns 7 Eyes - "Throes of Absolution" CD cover image

"Throes of Absolution" track listing:

1. Divine Amnesty (6:34)
2. Phumis: The Falsehood Of Affliction (4:46)
3. The Hill Difficulty (5:14)
4. Cycle Of Self (6:05)
5. Delusions (5:30)
6. A Finite Grasp Of Infinite Disillusion (5:45)
7. Vindicator (6:28)
8. The Winnowing (5:36)
9. Regeneration (6:42)

Reviewed by on May 18, 2012

"The guitar work is amazing, injecting the album with enough vibrant energy to make it worth at least a listen or two."

7 Horns 7 Eyes has been getting some press from guitarist Aaron Smith’s association with ex-Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis. Not only did Smith produce Loomis’s latest solo album, “Plains Of Oblivion,” but Loomis contributed a few guitar parts to the band’s debut album, “Throes Of Absolution.” This budding friendship helped the band get the attention of Century Media Records, though their wicked melodic death metal sound could have gotten the band a record deal without assistance.

Fans of Loomis and Nevermore will find a few similarities in the guitar playing between that band and 7 Horns 7 Eyes. The leads are cut-throat and full of twists that a listener will want to keep up with, just to hear what will come next. “Delusions” and instrumental “Regeneration” have stellar guitar solos, though the latter takes way too much time meandering around before the real excitement jumps in.

Any comparisons to Loomis’s past projects ends there, as 7 Horns 7 Eyes stands on its own. Uncompromising harsh vocals from JJ "Shiv" Polachek IV dominate each song, as well as the use of melodic progression that includes spats of symphonic keyboards. The keyboards are usually in the background, though a mellow piano line wraps around “A Finite Grasp of Infinite Disillusion.” A tight array of synths embellish the ominous atmosphere of “Divine Amnesty” and “Regeneration.”

There isn’t much in the way of jaw-dropping brutality, at least less so than the average death metal band. There is a technical, punchy side to the band that is exposed on “Cycle Of Self,” but that aspect is usually reserved for brief moments that seem more like interludes until the next solo or clean break. That's a good sign as far as dynamics go, which the band has in abundance, but not good for those that want their melodic death metal more like Dark Tranquillity or At The Gates.

There isn’t much debate on the quality of the musicians involved, though the bass is barely audible until the closing track. These guys are great at their instruments, no doubt about that, and that makes even the most lackluster section feel like an uncontrollable bolt of electricity. For some reason, the band feels the need to make four-minute songs seem interesting enough to be as long as almost seven minutes. Most of these songs don’t need to be this long, and dragging the songs out hurts the latter portion of the album.

“Throes Of Absolution” borders on being a great release for 7 Horns 7 Eyes, but just falters under a few of the aforementioned issues. The guitar work is amazing, injecting the album with enough vibrant energy to make it worth at least a listen or two. It could attract a loyal audience, and that should be a boom for the band. However, “Throes Of Absolution” is nothing more than acceptable melodic death metal, plain and simple.

Highs: These musicians are pros at their instruments, Jeff Loomis contributes guitar work, spats of keyboards enhance the atmosphere

Lows: Songs are stretched out too long, some clean vocals could have better fit a few melodic sections

Bottom line: A good melodic death metal debut that shines with excellent guitar work, but falters with some pacing issues.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)