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Seven Impale: City of the Sun

The e-mail accompanying the download of this review simply said, "The next release from Karisma Records is the debut album from Norwegian Seven Impale. Expect progressive and jazzy excellence!" To be fair I couldn't put it much better or more concisely myself. Having said that, I have a tendency to listen to albums before I look at the blurb and during my first listen to City of the Sun my thoughts went straight to Frank Zappa in his more serious moments and he is indeed listed, alongside King Crimson as one of the band's key influences. Add in a touch of Mr Bungle and this is a really intoxicating mix of sounds which, I'd argue epitomises the core of what one would expect on this website.

Seven Impale have created without doubt one of the best albums of 2014, it's full of twists and turns, blinding musicianship and deserves to played from beginning to end continuously for days on end.

Track Listing:
1. Oh, My Gravity!
2. Windshears
3. Eschaton Horo
4. Extraction
5. God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman

Added: October 5th 2014
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2903
Language: english

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Seven Impale: City of the Sun
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-10-06 00:13:37
My Score:

Seven Impale are a relatively new band hailing from Bergen, Norway. The band formed in 2010 and released a digital EP in 2013. Their first album City of the Sun is now ready for our consumption and what a delectable treat it is. In the band are Stian Økland (vocals, guitar), Fredrik Mekki Widerøe (drums), Benjamin Mekki Widerøe (saxophone), Tormod Fosso (bass), Erlend Vottvik Olsen (guitar) and Håkon Vinje (keyboards).

I sometimes find complex music hard to get into, especially when a band delves into a variety of different genres but that is not the case with Seven Impale. The music spoke to me immediately which doesn't usually happen with music as complex as this. Progressive rock, jazz, metal, and a bunch of other genres I am probably missing makes City of the Sun one of the most interesting and dynamic albums I have heard this year. Intense heavy metal riffage is often intertwined with jazzy bursts of trumpet and dreamy keyboard washes makes this a marriage that really shouldn't work but somehow does. Combine that with complex rhythmic structures and changing time signatures, well, you get the picture. This might be music made for musicians but as someone who doesn't play an instrument, at least not very well, I can tell you I am enjoying this album immensely.

Every song has something to offer starting with the first track "Oh, My Gravity?". Jazz rock elements lead into proggy guitar lines and time changes. The riffs build in intensity until a full on assault of metal edged guitar work and raging organ motifs enter the fray. Peaceful moments of delicate vocals and organ help to soften the frenetic edges. In "Windshears" subdued guitar riffs and laid back vocals combine with jazzy keys and drum work lead into full progressive rock mode before slowing down into more ethereal realms. These jazzy interludes have a bit of a Haken feel. The quirky "Eschaton Horo" features frenzied rhythmic structures and calmer moments with delicate vocals and softer keys. The heavier sections of staccato metal riffs are very cool.

The last track "God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman" is a fourteen minute feast for anyone who likes adventurous prog. The slow and delicate beginning soon bridges into heavier territory. The song alternates between delicate jazzy/spacey interludes with peaceful vocals to violent metal riffs with an almost Meshuggah-like intensity. This one will definitely keep the most seasoned prog fan on high alert.

City of the Sun is another excellent release in what is turning out to be another exceptional year in music. Lots of pleasant surprises this year and you can add Seven Impale to the list. You can learn more about the band on the Karisma Records' website.

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