Seventh Wonder – The Testament (Frontiers Music)Wednesday, 8th June 2022
Active since 2000, Swedish progressive metal masters Seventh Wonder continually impress as creative musicians striving to develop material that balances intricate musical parts with proper phrasing and catchy moments that keep listeners returning for more. Faithful followers have their favorites (this scribe loves Mercy Falls and The Great Escape personally), and after a prolonged eight-year absence from the studio for 2018’s conceptual Tiara outing, the quintet’s turnaround for their sixth studio platter The Testament only took half that time to hit the market. Focusing on human emotions for lyrical context in a non-conceptual song to song driven recording, there is plenty to appreciate, digest, and process once again on all fronts.
The combination of rich vocal melodies, supreme positioning of chorus harmonies, plus amazing musicianship moments surrounding strong main riffs, hooks, and transitions come into play from first song to last. Excelling at shifting moods and atmosphere, you’ll feel the uplifting register and heavier to quieter transitions that make “I Carry the Blame” an immediate head turner, while the classically driven piano play from Andreas Söderin shifts into some mid-tempo driving progressive guitar/bass/keyboard movements for the instrumental follow-up “Reflections” where a collage of inspiration from Dream Theater, Symphony X, Iron Maiden, and even progressive rock legends like Kansas or Yes spring up. The versatility of singer Tommy Karevik cannot be forgotten – up to the challenge of lower resonance just as easily as ascending to those soaring highs when necessary, check out the arena-rock propensity during “Invincible” for all facets of his upper tier range. Exotic musical interplay shifts into some counterpoint guitar/keyboard measures for another standout with “Mindkiller” – while “The Light” contains a mixture of solid, catchy main rhythms and hooks while allowing all the musicians a chance during the instrumental break to flex their chops tastefully.
In the end, we have a nine-track record for The Testament that Seventh Wonder followers will love as the band doesn’t stray far from their established songwriting/performance platform. This is progressive metal that serves up tasty treats in an intelligent, digestible manner – inviting to not just the ProgPower community, but hopefully garnering more left field or first-time music appreciators to the mix.