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Seven Thorns: Return to the Past

Spread Your Wings

Every now and again you come across an album where the title describes the music in a nutshell - Return to the Past is one of these albums. Everything about this album just transports you back to the heyday of European power metal; back when Helloween was the biggest name in German metal and Blind Guardian were the new kids on the block. Grandiose keyboards, fast double bass pedal rhythms, melodic choruses, and light-speed arpeggios are the name of the game here, and Seven Thorns delivers this style with confidence and dignity. Calling Return to the Past a forward-thinking album is far from the truth, but that doesn't affect the fun and memorable experience that Seven Thorns has created here. Power metal fans will undoubtedly get a kick out of Return to the Past, even though it's not an essential purchase for those who more casually enjoy the genre.

As previously mentioned, Return to the Past is an early-European-styled power metal album. I'm especially reminded of Helloween, Sonata Arctica, and early Blind Guardian. Seven Thorns uses a formula that many power metal bands have been following for the past 25 years, but they display the sound through great compositions and generally outstanding arrangements. The very symphonic and occasionally cheesy keyboards will most likely get on some people's nerves, though they rarely detract from my listening experience. My only complaint is the "samey" feeling that I get about halfway through the album. Although there is definitely variation in Seven Thorns' music, the verse-chorus-verse structure every track can get a bit repetitive after 5 or 6 songs. Most of the album is high-quality, so it's a bit unfortunate that the album loses a bit of its luster after the first half. If there were a bit more variation in the song structures, there's no doubt I'd be more enthusiastic about this release. Aside from that knock, I have few complaints about the rest of the album. Despite the couple of moments that scream "cheesefest", the majority of the songs here are great. My favorite is probably the opener, "Liberty", which features a great chorus and solid musicianship across the board. The production also sounds great and suits Return to the Past perfectly.

Conclusion:

Although Return to the Past isn't a must-have masterpiece, it's a high-quality modern power metal album that's head and shoulders above most of the competition. Seven Thorns deserve much more recognition than the small amount they are given - they are among the better modern power metal bands for sure. For this good (often great) album, 3.5 stars are well-earned. People who like European-styled power metal with symphonic keyboards and soaring melodies should certainly track this one down.


Track Listing
1. Liberty (4:47)
2. End of the Road (4:40)
3. Through the Mirror (4:26)
4. Freedom Call (4:18)
5. Countdown (5:02)
6. Forest Majesty (4:08)
7. Spread Your Wings (5:23)
8. Fires and Storms (5:31)
9. Return to the Past (5:59)

Added: January 9th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Score:
Related Link: Seven Thorns Official Website
Hits: 1704
Language: english

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