Live At ProgPower XXI

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Wanderer's Prayer (Intro)
02. Gods Of Debauchery
03. Ghost Of Yesterday
04. Cabaret Of Dreams
05. Succumb
06. In Sickness, In Health
07. Bury You
08. Drum Solo
09. Oceans Of Time
10. Shadow On An Endless Sea
11. Dare To Live
12. This God Is Dead (feat. Roy Khan)
13. Through Lifetimes (End)

One of countless bands whose plans were brutally scuppered when the global plague took hold three years ago, SEVEN SPIRES are still the most exciting thing happening in power and symphonic metal today. And now that the world is back to some kind of (intermittently horrifying) normality, this band's time must surely be coming. "Live At ProgPower XXI" captures them in action at the titular festival, deftly powering their way through an indulgent selection of songs from all three of their albums to date. As an introduction to SEVEN SPIRES' musical world, this is hard to fault, and the rich and nuanced sound quality of the recording certainly doesn't hurt. Most of all, this is a great way to discover the crazed versatility and wild imagination that has made them stand out from the overblown crowd since the 2017 release of debut "Solveig". Impressively resistant to wheeling out well-worn cliches, SEVEN SPIRES have conjured their own, unique hybrid strain of grand, melodic metal, taking in everything from vicious, blackened melo-death to the lavish bombast of musical theatre along the way. Their not-so-secret weapon: inordinately gifted vocalist and keyboard maestro Adrienne Cowan. She is not so much the icing on the cake as an entire confectionery. As a result, they have material that lends itself perfectly to an immersive, multi-faceted set list, and this second appearance at ProgPower is the miraculous outcome.

Established fans will need no encouragement to check this out, not least because many of these songs have yet to be fully exercised in the live arena. Early anthem "Cabaret Of Dreams" still sounds brilliantly anarchic, and laudably rich in color and cinematic expanse, but it is songs from "Emerald Seas" (2020) and "Gods Of Debauchery" (2021) that form the bulk of the show, while showcasing the sophistication of SEVEN SPIRES' musical vision. There are scintillating, tearstained singalongs like "Succumb", "Ghost Of Yesterday" and "Oceans Of Time", and there are more intricate but equally incisive flights of fancy like "Gods Of Debauchery" and the schizophrenic melodrama of "Shadow On An Endless Sea". The musicianship is impeccable but full of personality and swing, and the sheer opulence of the production frequently suggests a cast of thousands.

Saving the best and most jaw-dropping for last, SEVEN SPIRES conclude their set with an exhilarating clamber through the hyper-melodic labyrinth of "This God Is Dead", replete with a real-life vocal cameo from ex-KAMELOT maestro Roy Khan that should be more than sufficient evidence that they are heading onwards, upwards and far beyond the capabilities of many of their peers. The fans will love every second, and curious onlookers are advised to take the plunge too. You can't fake greatness.

Author: Dom Lawson
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