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Seventh Servant: The Tree of Life

I used to be the biggest Iced Earth fan ever. They were my favorite band in High School and I was their greatest proselytizer in the land during my formative metalhead years. As the next logical stepping stone to someone who was excitedly gobbling up every new metal band I could find, Iced Earth's accessible strain of power/thrash really got it's hooks in me. Nowadays, I've largely moved on from pretty much anything they have done after Horror Show, (and don't even get me started on Jon "The Traitor" Schaffer), but I'll still raise the horns to their two best albums in particular: Night of the Stormrider and "Burnt Offerings. Stormrider in particular seems to be the standout to most people these days that are willing to even bring the band up, and that is what brings me to Seventh Servant's new album, The Tree of Life.

You see, Seventh Servant is the project of John Greely, former Iced Earth vocalist who lent his pipes to the aforementioned Stormrider album. That was his lone contribution to the band's discography, and to be honest it wasn't a name I thought I would hear uttered in the Metal cinematic universe ever again, but the world works in mysterious ways and The Tree of Life is an interesting release to say the least.

This is thrashy and riffy power metal with proggy, lengthy song structures. Greely actually plays rhythm guitars on this release, and he must have been paying attention to Schaffer's blazing right hand gallops because they do make appearances all across this album. Those jackhammer rhythm guitars are backed up by thin, and rather minimalistic keyboards. It's a bit amateur and budget, but it gets the point across just fine. Drums and bass are largely "just there" (and more than likely programmed in the case of the former). The chuggy riffs and nondescript keys don't do a lot in the way of giving each song their own sense of self, and it kind of feels like one long opus of a song. The vocals are a problem here as well; Greely's vocal range is gone. He's in tune, and you can still tell it's him, but he keeps his lines down in the lower registers and they never veer above anything that I would consider a strained midrange. I get it, he's old. We're all old at this point, but it would have been cool to hear those piercing high notes from the Stormrider days on this. It would have been a nice counterpoint to the gruff and samey vocal delivery on the album. Greely does throw a few growls in from time to time to change it up, but that's not what I would have wanted or expected from him here.

The Tree of Life is actually a concept album about revelation, the whole Christian apocalypse thing that was written about in the bible and the subject of many terrible movies over the years. It's a pretty metal topic when you think about it really, and while the music is certainly nothing earth shattering, I admire Greely's drive in making his debut with this project something so ambitious. The track "Whitestone" is the best of the bunch here, and worth a listen if you fancy melodic heavy metal, and the chugging rhythms of the guitars are a welcome blast of nostalgia in short bursts. Beyond the novelty of this being the rebirth of an Ex-IE singer's career, there's not a ton going on here.

1. Revelation
2. The Almighty One
3. Forevermore
4. Tree of Life
5. Whitestone
6. Jezebel
7. Open Door
8. Dialogismos

Added: November 29th 2022
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 403
Language: english

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