What a pleasant surprise I got when I listened to Monuments, the debut release from Minneapolis Minnesota's Seventh Calling. It seems as though everybody is jumping on the extreme metal bandwagon these days, and if not, they're doing strictly the power metal thing, or strictly the prog thing, etc, etc. You get the point. Well let me say, what we have here is good old fashioned Heavy Metal, period. When the band lists Judas Priest, Metal Church, Fates Warning, and Dio as some of their influences, they aren't kidding. While not sounding particularly like any of the aforementioned bands, that old school metal feel is there. At times they are reminiscent of Dokken. Not the glam, hair metal influence, but the George Lynch shredding guitar work combined with the solid Pilson/Brown rhythm section. There is plenty of heavy duel guitar work going on as band founders and guitarists Lance Lange and Steve Handel work extremely well in tandem. Here's where you feel that Priest influence, the solid powerful rhythm of the band, solidly backing up several commanding guitar solos. These guys are real good players. The songs on Monuments are mostly mid-tempo, and heavy, but still very catchy and well put together. Tunes like "Silent Screams", Fight For Your Life", and "Mercyless" really shine.
Those are the good things about the album. Unfortunately there are some bad things. The production is not great. The final mix leaves a lot to be desired. But the biggest problem here is the vocals. Lange and Handel decided they would handle the vocal duties for the album. It was a big mistake. The vocals are really sub par throughout. The production not only is bad but the vocals themselves are not good. At times they seem as though they are straining, and at other times they're completely off pitch. This just takes so much away from what could have been a fantastic debut album.
Seventh Calling has loads of potential. Their brand of what you could call American metal is a throwback to the 80's power metal scene and more bands should take note.
This debut album Monuments is pretty good, but has its flaws. If you cleaned up the production on this record, and put a guy like say, John Bush, Ray Alder, or Roy Kahn out front, it would go from just above mediocre to flat out killer in the blink of an eye. Guys, take note: Go find yourselves a real good singer.
1. Dark Angel
2. Silent Screams
3. Faces Of Deception
4. Fight For Your Life
5. Dead Mind's Eye
8. The Process
12. My Blood...Your Veins