Swedish band, Seventh Wonder was formed in 2000 by bass player Andreas Blomqvist, guitarist Johan Liefvendahl and drummer Johnny Sandin and keyboard player Andreas “Kyrt” Söderin. They hit the ground running with a metal edged rock sound. Eighteen years later and now joined by Tommy Karevik on vocals and Stefan Norgren on drums, their fifth album, Tiara, is on release. It is a ‘concept album’ about aliens (again!) but the tracks can stand-alone and the concept doesn’t get in the way of the music.
After a short instrumental intro reminiscent of Holst’s Mars, it kicks off properly with ‘The Everones’, a metal track with a clever melody in the riff and again in the vocals. The double kick drums are a bit overpowering, but with change of time signature for a short guitar and keys solo, it is a great opener. ‘Against The Grain’ starts with some beautifully played acoustic before the metal rebels and reinstates itself with a great bass riff. Then back to quiet for a short time as the vocal is backed only by piano and the riff returns eventually leading to an instrumentally fascinating bridge and a rapid-fire guitar and bass duet. Three songs are linked together as ‘Farewell Parts 1, 2 and 3’ lasting just under twenty minutes and the first one ‘Tiara’s Song’ is almost heavy metal prog in its construct and is a perfect example of quality melodic metal. The second ‘Goodnight’ has a piano intro and alternates with a seriously hefty riff. Final part of the triptych is the keyboard and vocal duet of the ballad ‘Beyond Today’ and allows Karevik to really shine, with some female backing vocals and a violin adding atmosphere and much needed contrast. ‘The Truth’ has bass and drums taking a subtle, starring role bringing more depth to the sound this band is capable of and a semi operatic female vocal makes it strangely captivating. I think the lady in question, who has featured on previous works, is the delightfully talented Jenny Karevik. It finishes with the driving metal of ‘Exhale’. Keys swirl over the riff and a very melodic vocal. Alternating keys and guitar solos make this more than entertaining especially when we get a damn good bass solo too!
With over an hour’s worth of melodic rock on offer, this is certainly good value and all of the songs leave a positive impression. So if you want concentrated, well-played, produced and crafted metal, you will enjoy this one for sure.