Seven Thorns - 'II'

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Seven Thorns - 'II'

Like Speed Metal? Like Seven Thorns.

'II' is the third album from Denmark's Seven Thorns, so putting aside the fact that they can't count, what do you get? Well, early Helloween or Gamma Ray is pretty much the starting and finishing point, so there's no prizes for those sticking their hands in the air to suggest galloping swathes of Speed Metal (although, ST do seem to be billing themselves as Power Metal, which is rapidly becoming as vague a term as Prog...). The band's first effort, 'Glow Of Dawn', hit in 2007, with 'Return To The Past' arriving four years later.

However with 'II' I'd be as bold to suggest that the step up in class is marked and while there are very few surprises contained in the ten romping tracks (oh, and an ever so yawn inducing cover of the Abba classic 'Mamma Mia'. Enough! Stop it and stop it now!), there's no getting away from the fact that ST do what they do with gusto and conviction.

Illustrating that ST are the sort of act who do like to play it safe, we are "treated" to one of those ever so expected album intro's, this one being inspiringly named 'Intro' before 'Eye Of The Storm' kicks in at top pelt; bass drums hammering their way through the floorboards, guitars set for warp speed, gritty, yet soaring vocals doing their utmost to keep pace, before flirtatious keyboards bring a bit colour to the maelstrom.

Really, in a nutshell, that's ST for you. To be fair, the wonderfully titled 'You're Not Brave (If You're Not Scared)' does the tugging at heartstrings thing in a slower, meaningful way. However apart from that 'Revelation' careens into view at full throttle, 'Redemption' roars past at speed and 'Justice' is a soulful, Funk ballad with Jazzy interludes - well not quite but a slightly more reserved chugga-chug and keyboard parp does offer some knowing respite.

There's something quite endearing about an outfit this willing to bare their heart (and influences) so blatantly and there's no deny this band do so with some style. Like Speed Metal? Like Seven Thorns.

Steven Reid

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