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Seventh Wonder: Tiara

For a band that started off with a bang in the early 2000's, Sweden's Seventh Wonder haven't released a new studio album since 2010's The Great Escape, mostly due to lead singer Tommy Karevik joining Kamelot, but during a break in the action with what is now his main band, he's regrouped with his old mates for this latest Frontiers Records release, Tiara.

And what a glorious reunion this is indeed, Tiara being another concept album from these progressive metal stalwarts that feature alongside Karevik guitarist Johan Liefvendahl, bassist Andreas Blomqvis, Andreas "Kyrt" Söderin on keyboards, and drummer Stefan Norgen. As with all the previous Seventh Wonder albums, there's a lot that you'll need to let sink in here on Tiara, but with each exposure to these masterful songs your soul will become enriched with all the musical treasures. Taking their initial inspiration from Dream Theater as well as Symphony X, Seventh Wonder have really become a driving force in progressive metal with their last couple of releases, culminating in what could be their magnum opus on this latest platter. Tracks like the soaring "Victorious" or the absolutely addicting 1-2-3 punch of "Tiara's Song (Farewell Pt. 1)", "Goodnight (Farewell Pt. 2)", and "Beyond Today (Farewell Pt. 3)" feature a never ending wealth of magical hooks, the keyboards and guitars working spectacularly alongside each other but Tommy adding that extra special touch with his perfect vocal delivery. There are also plenty of prog-metal barnburners here, like the venomous "By the Light of the Funeral Pyres", complete with dynamic drumming and insane guitar/keyboard exchanges, the heavy yet majestic "Damnation Below", the symphonic ripper "Exhale", the dramatic "Everones", and of course the tumultuous, but highly engaging & catchy "Dream Machines", the latter a crunchy gem with a fantastic collection of riffs from Liefvendahl as well as some blistering solos. What a player!

From start to finish, Tiara is absolute perfection, and it gets better with each listen. What's really incredible is just how memorable & melodic this album is; pretty much every track has hooks to die for to go along with the spectacular musical arrangements. Just listen to the gorgeous guitar & piano of "Against the Grain" impressed as you are with the instrumental interplay, the vocals and those hooks come in and you are in love with the track once again but from a different perspective. That's what great songwriting is all about folks, and Seventh Wonder have on their hands what is easily a contender for album of the year. Tiara is an instant classic!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing

  1. Arrival
  2. The Everones
  3. Dream Machines
  4. Against The Grain
  5. Victorious
  6. Tiara’s Song (Farewell Pt. 1)
  7. Goodnight (Farewell Pt. 2)
  8. Beyond Today (Farewell Pt. 3)
  9. The Truth
  10. By The Light Of The Funeral Pyres
  11. Damnation Below
  12. Procession
  13. Exhale

Added: November 16th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2440
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Seventh Wonder: Tiara
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-11-16 21:22:55
My Score:

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in the case of Seventh Wonder, it’s what they return with that makes you love them all the more. Can it really be eight years since we were given the rather stupendous The Great Escape by these Swedish Prog Metal monsters? Well indeed it is, a length only broken by just how much that album and the other masterworks in this band’s back catalogue continue to spend time on my playlist.

And it will be no different for Tiara, an album that finds one of the best ever Progressive Metal acts operating right at the top of their game. With the voice of now Kamelot singer Tommy Karevik stamped authoritatively all over this record it’s easy to see why the German outfit were so keen to have him on board. And while I love his work with that band, it is here, in his rightful place that the likes of “By The Light Of The Funeral Pyres” finds him at his imperious best. However, he is not alone, the might of guitarist Johan Liefvendahl hammered home throughout, darting riffs slicing gleefully from the equally keyboard led “Damnation Below” as it romps along in the most frantic, yet controlled manner.

“Victorious” is probably this album’s most instantly memorable moment, the balance between technical brilliance and accessible hooks struck like few else can. With the numerous time changes from drummer Stefan Norgren and wonderfully flowing bass work of Andreas Blomqvist still leaving enough room for the exquisite arrangements to add in banks of vocals and hook laden melody lines, you really can find just about everything that’s good about Progressive Metal in this one 5 minute song! Andreas Soderin takes on the keyboard charge as “Tiara’s Song (Farewell Pt.1)” broods in utterly captivating style, although it is something matched by the second (“Goodnight”) and third (“Beyond Today”) parts as the former builds into a fluid guitar led piece where the fret fancies are unveiled in jaw dropping style.

And we’re only really touching the surface, “The Everones” a muscular early foray, coming as it does after the obligatory keyboard instrumental “Arrival”. That rather perfunctory beginning being the only moment on the album that feels ever so slightly hackneyed. However from the electronic vocal tones of the aforementioned “The Everones” through the mid-paced thunder of “Against The Grain” to the nine-minute-plus closing breath of “Exhale” there isn’t one more second that isn’t completely and utterly captivating.

Is Tiara Seventh Wonder’s best offering to date? With the standard of what has come before, that would be some claim. Let’s just say that Progressive Metal is alive and thriving and that Seventh Wonder may well be its best current exponents.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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