Seven Spires – The Cabaret of Dreams (Black Ray Music Group)Sunday, 12th October 2014
Boston is best known for Fenway Park, nightmare traffic/construction issues like The Big Dig, and a vibrant music scene from hardcore to the Dropkick Murphys and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. And then there is the higher education institutions, including the infamous music school at Berklee. Which brings us to the current EP up for review from the quartet Seven Spires, as all recording members are associated with that college currently in vocalist/keyboardist Adrienne Cowan, guitarist Jack Kosto, bassist J.P. Goldman, and drummer Anthony Medaglia (although J.P. has since been replaced with Cameron Tidman).
Witnessing the band live first as the opener for the Inhumanifest Festival day two in Revere, MA (the melodic/power metal day), their brand of symphonic power metal took ahold of my psyche, my brain, and my body – so seeking out this 7 track EP The Cabaret of Dreams was literally a no brainer. A conceptual recording that involves a protagonist who meets a demon of the underworld, selling their soul to stay problem free in the ‘cabaret of dreams’, we get 5 full songs plus “The Siren” orchestral-oriented intro and reprise.
Balance is a key factor to the Seven Spires appeal, as symphonic power metal can often emphasize one aspect like orchestration over normal metal instrumentation and natural/emotional ebbs and flows. As main songwriters Adrienne and Jack choose the right textures, minor and major chords, building the right tension for explosive moments as well as quieter, reflective sections that makes the genre so exciting when executed correctly.
Highlights? Let’s start on the Kamelot-esque “Encounter” – choral background vocals reverberating throughout and Anthony’s slower, progressive double bass rolls and fills keeping this arrangement large and spacious while Jack’s lead break adds that neo-classical finesse and emotive element. The title track is a Seven Spires classic, a playful anthem where Adrienne gets to flex her impressive vocal range (part Floor Jansen, part Sebastian Bach, as well as a touch pure heavy metal) and the chorus again stays stuck in your head for days, while the twisted carousel musical box ending adds another killer atmospheric touch. “Closure” has doomier appeal save for the closing 20 second speed/thrash ending, while the final track “100 Days” is a supreme exercise in ballad pacing, going from quieter keyboards/clean guitar into a full on electric ending to make you break out the lighters or hold your significant other close.
Sascha Paeth (Kamelot, Avantasia) handles the mix and Miro the mastering, while you’ll also get guest male extreme vocals in parts from David James Benites on three of the tracks. In the end, this is quite a potent debut EP for Seven Spires – a band that we will be hearing about very often as they move up the ranks. If you love Kamelot, Nightwish, Epica, and heavier orchestration a la Dimmu Borgir/Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Cabaret of Dreams is mandatory in your favored listening device(s).