Review by Rick Ossian
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Seven Year Storm is quite possibly one of the most interesting instrumental prog projects I’ve heard in some time. They hail from Vancouver, British Columbia, and are sporting one of the best percussionists in the business, one Sean Lang. Sean is a professional freelance drummer and instructor, and didn’t even plan on recording this stuff until he got a load of advice from some musician friends that he should. It is truly lucky for us, especially if you are a prog aficionado like yours truly. Seven Year Storm also features Dean Lamb (Archspire) on lead guitar and Brent Mackenzie on bass, and they are definitely a wonder to behold. There are five compositions here, and though there is some repetition, it is glorious for the most part!
Morphogenesis starts thing off with a pounding drum/keyboard intro. It is a wonderful instrumental with some wicked guitar work going on. Talk about your busy drummers! I know it is a (most likely annoying) catch phrase of mine, but I’m not quite sure how else to describe it. There is intricacy, there is persistent percussion, a veritable cornucopia of pulsing, pounding beats! That should do it for descriptive power. This is fairly heavy prog, by the way; some moments of light do exist, but then what the dark be without a bit of light?
Dyatlov features a violin at the outset, along with some drums and a slamming guitar entry about 20 seconds in. Again, there is some really cool drumming going on here, and even a guitar/drum duel of sorts. At 3:30 there is the obligatory lead guitar solo, but for the most part the focus is on the drums.
Virtue has a weird synth intro and some heavy duty drums. This is very cool soundscape stuff. The way the guitars weave and conspire with the drums is positively ear-bending! Some very cool riffs abound, and at 3:20 the violin action gives way to some slamming drums. Surprise!
Nazca Lines starts life off with a handclap intro and some pretty cool guitar and keyboard work. The drum entry is pure prog, and one can’t help but wonder if they were to see a Seven Year Storm show, just how big/long of a drum solo would there be? We can only hope it would be a monster! This is majestic, powerful, fist-pumping prog at its finest, filled with guitars and keys widdling away, with an absolutely pounding drum beat behind it all. The drums are driving this beast, but the bass and guitar work are also very good. Technical and precise, with shifts (2:00) and guitar shred (2:30), not to mention keys, especially piano (3:25).
Blue Car Syndrome closes out the show, and is the longest piece on board here by a minute and a half or so (6:47). This is a heavy jam, with more violins and keys at the intro. Stately and grandiose, with pounding drums (again) and heavy instrumental action. At its best it is an atmospheric soundscape, at its worst it is pure widde, so if you came to hear some vocals, forget it! Fifty seconds in we get slammed with power prog guitar, and we get a slight shift in the proceedings at 1:15. This is a totally inspiring instrumental jam, with a shift (3:00) to air keys and a lead guitar-led jam (3:20). At 4 minutes in, thing build faster, then we get a briefly slower blues. Some seriously busy drumming going on again, and what a total jam that takes us to the fade at the end.
As mentioned above, this may not be for you. However, if your thing is instrumental prog with a heavy accent on the drums, then rejoice! This may be one of the best pieces you will hear all year. I, for one, am looking forward to #2!