After trials and tribulations, Seventh Servant have finally released their debut album, The Tree of Life, an ambitious concept album covering parts of the book of Revelation through progressive power metal.
While definitely not a household name despite beginning back in the mid-2000s, Seventh Servant has John Greely of Iced Earth fame (1991-1992) leading the effort on vocals. For the album, John handled vocals and rhythm guitars while Ginger Sizemore handled bass and co-wrote the songs and arrangements with John. Marinos Tokas, a Greek composer, handled the orchestral arrangements, and Shawn Walker contributed the drum work. Mia Lajeunesse handled the lead guitar on the album after beginning as just the tracking engineer and went on to also do the mixing and mastering.
If the cover is any indication, the concept album will be focused on a rather complex story, namely the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. As one might imagine given the subject matter, this will be by no means a simple listen and most of the songs are longer than 6 minutes with Open Door clocking in over 16 minutes.
“Revelation” opens the album and hits really hard from the beginning. After a short intro the song settles in a groove heavy riff. Production quality is really high with all instruments clearly heard in the mix and the addition of the keyboards punctuate certain elements in the song. Shawn Walker’s drum work shines as does the guitar work from Mia Lajeunesse. Greely’s vocals are smooth and strong and lend an air of authority to the lyrics.
“The Almighty One” picks the pace up a bit and showcases some dual guitar work and some riffs that would not sound out of place on an Iron Maiden album. In fact, when you think of the epic nature of the subject matter and dual guitars, one can’t help but think of Iron Maiden. I would say that on this album though the vocals are a bit too prominent in the mix for that comparison to really hold, not to mention Greely doesn’t attempt the range of Bruce Dickinson, but then again, not many can pull that off.
By song three, “Forevermore”, the band had shifted more toward the progressive side than the power metal side and the song nearly reaches 8 minutes long. The intro is somewhat slower and heavily driven by keyboards but progresses nicely with Walker’s drums picking up speed and eventually some great guitar work and driving rhythm section lead the song into the verse. The song itself is very catchy with all its twists and turns and Walker certainly gets a workout in with all the tempo changes and double bass work. The song also has no shortage of guitar leads as well but they are incorporated into the overall structure of the song very well and the length of the song is not just an excuse for lengthy guitar solos.
“Tree of Life” starts out a bit slower than previous songs and churns along but then the guitars take over and speed things up again, providing Greely a vocal section that is far more aggressive in tone than in the previous songs and that overall shift in tone and delivery really add a great element to the song, making it a standout track. “Whitestone” continues in somewhat similar vein, but after “Tree of Life” the contrast to the earlier songs is not as forceful.
“Jezebel” is likely the one track most will hear from the album as it features Tim “Ripper” Owens (Iced Earth, Judas Priest) on vocals with Greely and his presence is heard very early in the track. Vocals from the two are layered together well in the mix and the song itself continues with the aggressive tone that started with “Tree of Life”. The song has that epic feel to it which one would expect given the talent involved and fitting well in the eight plus minutes it runs. Toward the end, Ginger Sizemore’s bass carries the song through a quieter section which was an unexpected element but fits well.
“Dialogismos” closes out the album rather quietly as a short, mostly acoustic instrumental but before that is the 16 minute long “Open Door”, a song that packs as much music as some bands have in their whole albums. Dual guitars rage, Greely delivers haunting vocals, and the rhythm section of Sizemore and Walker provide a pounding backdrop, all within the first 5 minutes. The song then shifts to a softer tone largely carried by Greely’s vocals, Sizemore’s bass and Walker’s drums leading into a guitar solo from Lajeunesse before settling back into the calmer, quieter beginning that builds in intensity as the song progresses.
Seventh Servant deliver an album that is at once hard to describe and yet familiar to those who listen to power and progressive metal. It is one of those albums that demands the listener pay attention and invest some time, much like a reading of the book of Revelation. Nothing is simple here, but there is beauty in the complex.
Written by John Jackson
- The Almighty One
- Tree of Life
- Jezebel (featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens)
- Open Door
John Greely: vocals, guitars
Ginger Sizemore: bass
Drums: Shawn Walker
Mia Lajeunesse: lead guitar
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Record Label: Roxx Records
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Video for ‘Jezebel’
Video for ‘Revelation’
Video for ‘The Almighty One’