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From.uz - Seventh Story CD (album) cover

SEVENTH STORY

From.uz

 

Eclectic Prog

3.56 | 61 ratings

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LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's finally time to sit down and write this review. Whee.

First thing, I have to note that I really love Overlook, their previous album, and find that to be one of the stronger all-instrumental albums this side of fusion. And while Seventh Story carries many great traits from that release, it also carries over (and amplifies on occasion) some of the trouble that Overlook had. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good music here, and some new twists to the Fromuz sound that really boost the quality of this release. There is quite a strain of Liquid Tension Experiment throughout this album, but for the most part Fromuz have developed their own sound.

The first and final tracks are quiet balladry of sorts, though much of both songs are ambiance and using spoken word to create a distorted, bizarre entrance into the music. And it works well the first time, though by the last song, after a full-and-then-some-length album, I find myself wishing they'd just get to the musical conclusion rather than build ambiance after an hour and a quarter. Nevertheless, the most interesting part of these two tracks are the addition of vocals. They appear in other tracks as well, and I find them very pleasant, refreshing even. The second track, Parallels, is long and meandering. There are many wonderful moments appearing in this piece, but it does not stand very well as a single song. At points the music is subtle, pushing forward calmly yet full of layers. When it is not full of layers, that is usually when the tempo is kicking in and the LTE-brand metal riffs are in full force.

Several minutes of heavily-accented English dialog and poetry lead us to Desert Circle. Desert Circle is at times the highlight of this new release and at others a perfect example of its issues. There are some really well-executed ideas in here. Some great performance. And some absolutely terrible transitions, which were a problem with Fromuz before and are clearly not fixed yet. Every song on this album (except Bell of the Earth) struggles with this somewhat, but Desert Circle is downright crippled by it several times. Despite this, however, this not a failed track at all. It doesn't make much of a unified song, but the brief section in the middle heavy on acoustic guitars and percussion almost makes up for all of that. And next, Bell of the Earth is a gentle orchestral reprise of the recurring theme off Overlook. There is a strong resemblance to Watermelon in Easter Hay or some other Zappa song, though I can't place which. Orchestral, beautiful, reminiscent of Zappa? That's a good combo in my book.

Taken, like Desert Circle, begins with dialog, though this time it's much more natural and interesting (though, I would have to say, this album would be far, far stronger if the snippets of conversation were in Uzbek or Russian rather than English). Unlike Desert Circle and Parallels, Taken is perhaps the only lengthy piece on the album that holds together as a unified piece. The guitar work is fantastic, and the mix on the creative heavy riffing in the center of the track is once more Fromuz gold. And over this high energy riffing and keyboard sounds, Fromuz put forth a fantastic array of trading solos, perhaps their best and most exciting solo moments to date. If you are finding yourself bored by this point, make sure to give Taken a full try, as it is the strongest track here (again, possibly excluding Bell of the Earth, which is a much more restrained piece). Influence of Time is quite similar to Parallels, though an interesting piece of prog metal. The early stages of the song feature a lot of funky horns and some very prominent and promising bass work. Though perhaps a little patchwork, it is nevertheless a solid final full song for Seventh Story.

All in all, a solid effort, but with a few downfalls. Get rid of the English, tie the songs together a bit better rather than having each of them be quite as meandering and nonunified, and perhaps include more vocals, and Fromuz could very well produce another five star album. This comes recommended, but I would propose you start with Overlook first.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |

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