Seven Spires
Gods of Debauchery

Very late last year, I was introduced to Boston’s Seven Spires, with their second album, Emerald Seas, and immediately fell in love with them, largely due to vocalist Adrienne Cowan (who surprisingly used to be the keyboard player for deathcore act, Winds of Plague). Her range and power on songs like “Bury You” , “Succumb” and “Silvery Moon”, made her a perfect fit for the band’s ambitious take on power metal, operatic Goth Metal, melodic death metal, and symphonic black metal, not only her utterly gorgeous clean vocals ( I highly recommend you look up her pandemic studio sessions on youtube) but her surprisingly savage growls and screams. Also, she handles all the keyboards for the band. Talk about talent.

Well, a mere 18 months after that release, the band is back with an even more ambitious album. Clocking in at over 70 minutes and with 16 tracks (with two fillers/intro), Gods of Debauchery completes the trilogy that started with 2019s Solveig, and delvers a lavish powerful, and epic album that should see the band catapulted into the upper echelon of American metal. Not only is Cowan a frontwoman as varied and powerful as say, media darlings like  Jinjer’s Tatiana Shmayluk, but her orchestration behind the band’s sturdy metal musings is also equally as alluring as her voice. It also helps that her band, consisting of other fellow Berklee College of Music Alum, are more than competent at delivering the goods also. But let’s be honest this is Cowan’s show.

After the intro “Wanderer’s Prayer”, the title track delivers an almost seven-minute pure melodeath number, signaling a heavier Seven Spires, and barely featuring Cowans clean vocals at all, but that is why I listen to Seven Spires, so luckily, the next song “The Cursed Muse” delivers one of those burly songs mixed with her trademark soaring chorus. And it’s generally these songs where Seven Spires shines. With the exception of the overly poppy “Lightbringer” (the album’s lone misstep), songs where Cowan is allowed to mix it up between her screams and utterly hypnotic, uplifting choruses (along with some killer orchestration), is where the band is sooooo good.

For example songs like “Ghosts of Yesterday” standout and a personal favorite, “The Unforgotten Name”, with a bridge and chorus that gives me goosebumps, the Middle Eastern sway of “Echos of Eternity”, “Dare to Live” and sprawling, 10-minute “This God Is Dead” (featuring Kamelot’s Roy Khan, and might be the band’s crowning moment)  and uplifting “Oceans of Time” are a perfect balance of crunchy metal, and Cowan’s softer side, which of course shows up in requisite ballads, “In Sickness, In Health” and “Fall With Me”. But the band occasionally (as they did on prior releases) can be a little blacker and sterner as heard on the aforementioned title track, “Shadow of an Endless Sea”, “Gods Amongst Men”  and Dimmu Borgir-ish stomp of “Dreamchaser”, though still smartly highlighting Cowan’s range. And the fact that 70 + minute album breezes by and never feels like a slog, even in its later stages (I’m looking at you Iron Maiden...), is a testament to how good the band (Ok, Cowan…) is at keeping your attention.

When listening to Emerald Seas, my internal monolog kept wanting to call the band “Disney Metal”, as Cowan’s svelte choruses and ballads could have easily been a lead song from a Disney princess fronted movie, and I mean that in a good way (just listen to “Oceans of Time” and tell me you can’t picture Idina Menzel belting that chorus out). And with Gods of Debauchery, I still stand by that. Even if there’s a slightly heavier, darker metal prose at play that shows Seven Spires and Cowan do not want to be lumped in with the usual sugary female-fronted metal bands and deliver something far more in-depth and a little more melo-death and blackened. And the result is still fantastic, and one of the more addictive and audaciously ambitious albums of 2021.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 20th, 2021

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