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Seventh Key: I Will Survive

It seems that every second CD review in the world of Melodic Rock is prefaced by a phrase like, "it's been nine long years since...", or "here's the album that we've been waiting nearly a decade for..." and both those statements are true in the case of Seventh Key (and their I Will Survive album), a band which last graced us with The Raging Fire in 2004, although a live album, the cunningly titled Live In Atlanta, did surface a year later.

So why should you care about the return of Seventh Key? Well, anyone who took a passing interest in the hugely underrated Streets, featuring Steve Walsh of Kansas, Mike Slamer of City Boy and Billy Greer should already be well aware that Slamer and Greer are the driving forces behind this band. Terry Brock of Strangeways fame plays a lesser role than before (he has previously been guitarist and backing vocalist), merely backing up Greer's excellent vocals, but at least he is still involved. Since the days of Streets, Greer too has been an ongoing member of Kansas, so it should come as no surprise that there are musical links between this band and that one. Huge Hammond bursts abound, layers of luscious vocals ooze into the memory, while the overall vibe is melodic, with a hint of American Prog.

That said, Seventh Key are a weightier beast than Greer's main band, more fiery in the guitar department (after all Slamer has to be the best kept secret in Rock of any description...), more thunderous in the drum area Chet Wynd handling that aspect superbly - more bombastic through Slamer's keyboards and Greer's rangy bass work. However with David Ragsdale, also of Kansas adding violin on occasion, the similarity is more than passing.

All that said, as with the previous two Seventh Key studio releases (the self titled debut hit the shelves in 2001), the obvious influences are possibly what Streets might have gone on to become had they stayed the course, a more foot to the floor AOR vibe, or exuberant Melodic Rock atmosphere being the order of the day. Well that and strong choruses that you want to sing along with immediately, which is always a good thing. "I See You There" is a prime example, keyboards breathing life into a song packed with classy guitar touches and stunning vocals, while Slamer moves further into the spotlight on "It's Just A State Of Mind". Although only a guitar player of this class could be capable of firing through all of the flicks and tricks he does on this song without ruining or even over dominating his surroundings. And so it goes through the surging "Love Sets You Free", the atmospheric build of "Down" or the beautiful violin, piano and voice led "What's Love Supposed To Be", which morphs into another groove-fest. Making for an album that stands up superbly to repeat visits, revealing its true class and stature as it does so.

Nine years, but well worth the wait. Welcome back Seventh Key.

Track Listing
01. I Will Survive
02. Lay In On The Line
03. I See You There
04. It's Just A State Of Mind
05. Sea Of Dreams
06. Time And Time Again
07. When Love Sets You Free
08. Down
09. The Only One
10. What Love's Supposed To Be
11. I Want It All

Added: October 4th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Billy Greer Online
Hits: 3368
Language: english

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