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Seventh Wonder

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4 stars Third album of this swedish prog metal band so far from 2008 entitled Mercy falls. Another well example how must sound these days prog metal with a touch of hard rock and even opposite - power metal in places. While I prefer the previous album better than this one, Mercy falls capture the auditorium with excelent musicianship and tight arangements. The music is nothing grounbreaking or never heared befor, but is full of shining moments in prog metal The voice of Tommy Karevik is brilliant and shows how talented is this guy, super voice , fits like a glove in this kind of music. Another musician that impressed me much is the keyboard player Andreas Söderin, great solos and brilliant arrangements through out all album. This is a concept album, I don't get it really what's all about, but I think is about a car accident and all the stories that gone from this event. I didn't get it the concept maybe because , the album is a little too long and I've lost the core after middle of the album, if there were 15-20 min shorter than were ok. Anyway a strong album full of catchy interplays between keys and guitar, marvelous vocal parts, far from being a bad album, maybe at same level with the predecesor, but less convinceing. I will give 3.5 rounded up to 4 , from entire 15 pieces, 4 or 5 are mindblowing, showing that Seventh Wonder is a real power in prog metal world, desearving a better view and a place in top of the bands from today. I also was a little surprise that is no review so far, besides mine, only 8 ratings, but is ok because are quite high, a rate that they will desearve all the way.
Report this review (#207537)
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a very nice discovery. In those times when prog metal acts grow in number at the speed of light, a band whose abilities to combine technicality with great vocal harmonies and killer melodies as in the early days of prog metal is a great welcome. Imagine Dream Theater at the time of their acclaimed 'Images and Words' crossed with the likes of Europe around 'final countdown'and you are not far from the picture one could draw from the music this band plays. Seventh Wonder don't venture in the most complex fields of progressive rock, instead they prefer to concentrate on catchy and easy-to-remember melodies where majestic choruses are interspersed with tasty layers of guitar and keyboards. The drums were mixed to sound as on 'Images and Words' and the overall mood of this album is very close to this milestone of prog metal, albeit the melodic factor is more highlighted. 'Mercy Falls' is a concept-album which, despite its length (74 mn), keeps the listener interested from beginning to end thanks to the quality of all its compositions. It's organic and dynamic music that stands out for its brilliant melodies and should not be overlooked neither by die-hard prog metal fans nor music lovers in general. Fans of Shadow Gallery, Queensryche, Dream Theater or more straightforward bands like Europe or Savatage should really dig this record. It is on a par with other concept-albums like Queensr˙che's 'Operation Mindcrime' or Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' and will transport you to a world of magic and brightness.
Report this review (#219582)
Posted Tuesday, June 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars SEVENTH WONDER are a band that gets lots of praise all over the "Net" but they're a band that I just fail to appreciate. This Swedish band has plenty of chops but i'm not a fan of the harmonies and the prominant keyboards.This is a concept album at 74 minutes which doesn't help either.

It's about this man who is told by his wife that the child she's carrying isn't his, prompting him to get into a car accident resulting in him being in a coma. The highlight of this album for me is the bass playing which is very upfront. Some excellent guitar as well but the keyboards take more of the spotlight. Not a fan of the ballads either.

I do think this is their best album so far and i'm starting to understand why this band gets such acclaim. This just isn't my favourite style of Prog-Metal.

Report this review (#242557)
Posted Friday, October 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really didn't know anything about this band, but someone on the forums wrote of them quite highly, and fortunately this album was on Spotify. I'm not usually a huge fan of power metal, and to be sure, there's a lot of that sound here, but something about this album sucked me in, to the point where I listened to it two or three times a day for the week after I learned about it. To put that in perspective, there are a lot of albums that I don't listen to more than 2 or 3 times a month, and those are albums I really like.

Lyrically, "Mercy Falls" is a concept album, and while I generally don't pay too much attention to "stories" of the albums I'm listening to, this one pulled me in. More importantly, however, is the consistent quality of the music. There are some occasional missteps (oft- used voice clips begin to sound out of place after a while), but on the whole this is a very solid album.

The sound of a car crash begins the album before "A New Beginning" introduces some cinematic synths. The whole track has a very introductory kind of feel that sets up a lot of different themes in varying degrees of heaviness, all the while accompanied by soundclips that help to set up the plot, with ambulance noises and speech clips from the "characters" in the story. It's a bit cheesy, certainly, but it's an effective setup, and the incidental music that accompanies the speech is surprisingly good.

"There and Back" is titled as the overture proper, and it begins on a bit more of an energetic note than the more atmospheric opener. A great combination of guitar and synth set a great, symphonic mood, with plenty of the epic hooks that are so pervasive in the power-metal genre. A very effective introduction to the musical feel of the album and a great lead into the first song proper, entitled "Welcome to Mercy Falls." Pounding guitar riffs and a piano line open the track before vocals come in. As with most music in this genre, the vocals are very technically impressive and emotive, with plenty of awesome harmonies and soaring melodies. Though it's not structurally that complex, with a pretty standard verse-chorus- bridge structure, the playing is very impressive, with a guitar/synth solo duel towards the end of the song that awesomely resolves into a single melodic line.

"Unbreakable" comes next, starting off with a great synth solo over solid riffing. The vocal line here is a little more restrained than in "Welcome?" though it's still plenty bombastic. "Unbreakable" definitely has a more proggy feel than just standard power metal, though it does still feature a fairly hook-laden chorus. However, there's a ton of instrumental interplay as well, not to mention a decidedly softer interlude section that features beautiful piano under soaring vocals. The instrumental section that follows has a decidedly cinematic feel, and there's one more brief vocal moment before a guitar solo closes out the track.

"Tears for a Father" is a decidedly softer number, featuring only vocals and acoustic guitar. Despite having some rather corny lyrics, it also manages to be a fairly heartfelt piece that fits in well with the story the album is telling. It's a very short song as well, giving way to "A Day Away" after less than two minutes. This next track I think falls pretty squarely into the power- metal camp, and it has a decidedly hopeful feel that's a nice contrast to the bleakness of much of the album. "Tears for a Son" completes the trifecta of short songs here, featuring another speech clip before another stripped back vocal section, this time featuring keyboards instead of guitar. The lyrics here are similar to "Tears for a Father," managing to convey a lot of genuine emotion despite a bit of cheesiness.

There's a short burst of static before "Paradise" begins. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, starting with an instrumental introduction that reminds me a lot of Shadow Gallery and a positively anthemic chorus that demands to be played very, very loudly. I can hear a lot of similarities here to power-metal band Serenity, especially in the way that vocal harmonies are used to give the chorus a very powerful, epic effect. "Paradise" is an awesome song, with awesome instrumental interplay between guitars and synths and awe- inspiring vocal lines to match.

"Fall In Line" comes next, beginning with some orchestral synths before a guitar melody line comes in. This in turn leads into some fast and furious riffing, with the synths all the while creating great background orchestration. The guitar throws in a great, emotive solo before the vocals start. For some reason, the vocal delivery (not necessarily the tone) on this track reminds me of Geoff Tate from Queensr˙che. The style is very dramatic and narrative, and the instrumentals continue to be stellar, with multiple guitar and synth solos throughout. There's a nice little instrumental postlude at the end of the track as well that serves as a transition into the next song.

This next song is also the longest, coming in at just under ten minutes. "Break the Silence" starts off on a softer, more melodic note, with only minimal guitar behind gorgeously harmonized vocals. At about the one and a half minute mark the heaviness returns, with the guitar laying down pounding riffs, over which another wonderful guitar solo plays. There's a brief shift back to a more stripped down instrumentation as the vocals re-enter, but it's not long before the full intensity of the track returns. Another guitar solo takes up a good chunk of the middle of the track, and though it's very technically impressive, I do think that sections of it lack the emotion that can take a solo from "impressive" to "spectacular." Luckily, these sections are few and far between, and a softer, more atmospheric instrumental section takes a bit of the edge off and adds some sonic variety. Additionally, a totally different vocal melody towards the end of the track shakes things up and makes the track feel like the prog- metal epic that it is striving to be.

"Hide and Seek" is another of my favorite tracks, beginning with a riff that sounds like Iron Maiden combined with Opeth and only getting better from there. A catchy synth melody sets the tone before the vocals enter. This is another song with a rather cheerful melody, a nice contrast that's highlighted even more by the super-high energy, epic chorus that features some of the most emotive, raw vocals on the entire album. It nearly goes without saying at this point that there are several spectacular solos as well, but they certainly shouldn't be taken for granted.

"Destiny Calls" begins with an intstrumental section that almost sounds like math-metal. At times heavily reminiscent of Dream Theater, this opening section makes great use of multiple time signatures and complex rhythms, and it's probably some of the proggiest music on the album. Though it's not long, this introduction certainly makes an impression, and the vocal section that follows is equally impressive. Melody and technicality combine in the best way to create stirring, epic metal, and a variety of motifs keeps this track feeling probably the most like straight prog-metal, with very little power-metal influence to be found.

"One Last Goodbye" is another relatively soft song, with strummed acoustic chords providing the main instrumentation for the track. Female vocals make a surprising but incredibly effective appearance on this song as well, and though they are only used briefly the effect they provide is very nice. There's some nice orchestration as well, and on top of all of it are the incredible, soaring, emotional vocals. Some possibly ill-advised spoken word clips appear over in the middle of the track, and in my opinion this disrupts the flow a bit. Fortunately, there's a triumphant duet between the male and female vocalist to close out the track, and it ends up being one of the surprise highlights on the album.

"Back In Time" begins with several samples from earlier tracks played over an atmospheric synth part. A similar technique has been used on several Ayreon albums, and it works quite well as a sort of "musical recap" before the final track. Unfortunately, there's another narrative-advancing voice clip used here, and quite frankly it's just not well delivered. It's supposed to be the climax of the story and a major twist, but the delivery is just so corny that it lacks a lot of the emotional punch that it's obviously supposed to have.

Fortunately, "The Black Parade" closes the album on a high note. Almost every line has the kind of epic power-metal hook that makes the genre so enjoyable to listen to. In addition, the playing is positively frenetic, with drums especially going insane on the chorus and keyboards and guitar synergizing perfectly to create atmosphere for the rest of the track. Excellent orchestration and a variety of keyboard sounds round out the track, and a killer guitar solo helps wrap it up before one final vocal section leads into the album's final fade- out.

So, while there are some minor flaws, this is an incredibly solid album for fans who like the power-metal sound in their prog. I usually have trouble staying engaged for the duration of long albums, but while this one comes in at a hefty 74 minutes it really just seems to fly by. Often when listening to power metal I run into the problem of a few songs having hooks I really like and the others just not measuring up, but that is absolutely not a problem here. Every track is almost bursting with epic grandeur, and that makes this a very fun album to listen to. Additionally, though this is something I don't usually say, I would recommend looking the story of the album up, as it is actually fairly compelling if you know what exactly is going on.

Excellent stuff.


Report this review (#651134)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes. Five stars. I firmly believe this album is a masterpiece. Actually, I would say all of Seventh Wonder's albums but the very first, Become, are masterpieces. From the first time I heard "Waiting in the Wings" I was absolutely amazed. And I have never been disappointed by consecutive listens, nor have I been disappointed in their follow-up albums (Mercy Falls and The Great Escape - though I hope for many to come...). This band continues to be fresh, and their chops are unmatched. They are, I believe, Prog-Metal's best kept secret, and I wish they would make it big. It truly breaks my heart that they aren't making enough money on music to support themselves. As my username suggests, I am a big Dream Theater fan. But, even though Dream Theater are and have been my favorite band for many years, I'll let you in on a little secret: I think Seventh Wonder is a better band.

Mercy Falls is a concept album, the plot of which is a little mysterious. I will tell you what I know: at the beginning of the album, there is a car accident. We find out that the male in the car accident is in the hospital in a coma, and his wife and son visit him at different stages in the album. His father also comes to visit him at one point. The album goes back and forth between these visits in the real world, and some sort of dream world the man is in, called Mercy Falls, where he becomes part of the community and helps out during a storm. In the real world, they try a bone marrow transplant from the man's son, but it doesn't work. In the end, the wife says her final goodbye, and decides to turn off the mans life support. The truth is finally revealed to us, and while passing into the afterlife, the man remembers that the wife had an affair and that the man's son was not actually his (thus the reason the transplant didn't work). The last song is called the Black Parade, and I'm not sure but think it is the man's passing into the afterlife. Whatever the plot, the music takes the listener through a roller-coaster of emotions and helps to fill the plot with mystery.

Report this review (#721431)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album that introduced me to SEVENTH WONDER, "Mercy Falls" is a progressive/power metal concept album that tells the story of a man who gets in a car accident and wakes up in a town called Mercy Falls, a made up world that he dreamt up in his comatose state.

It's a great concept album with an interesting story, though it may not be on par with other concept albums such as "Metropolis Pt. 2 - Scenes From a Memory". The story can be a little difficult to follow at times, but after a few spins you should really appreciate the album.

Musically "Mercy Falls" is superior to their previous album "Waiting in the Wings". The first SEVENTH WONDER song that I listened to was "Welcome to Mercy Falls" and I was blown away. The vocal melodies are much stronger and catchier, the rhythm is definitely more progressive, overall the musicianship has improved since "Waiting in the Wings". Everything seems to be much more refined than it was in their previous album, and it really shows as there is never a dull moment in "Mercy Falls". It's a fairly long album (73:57) but you'll be wondering where time went. Other notable songs from the album that I find really impressive are "Fall in Line", "Break the Silence", and "Hide and Seek"; those are some of the best power/progressive songs I've ever heard.

I strongly believe that this album is a masterpiece. "Waiting in the Wings" fell short because it had a few weaker, more mundane songs. "Mercy Falls" never has a dull moment, rather I should say that it's very exciting throughout. There is excellent progression and every song is strong in some way. If you're a fan of progressive/power metal or a fan of SEVENTH WONDER, this is the album for you.

Report this review (#981353)
Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater and Seventh Wonder were my favorite prog metal discoveries. SW maybe even more, because with DT I knew what to expect, but this Swedish band (is half the population of this country musicians?!) exceeded all my expectations.

The style is melodic power prog metal. All familiar ingredients to be sure, but this is by far the best band in this genre. Just overloaded with great melodies, this particular album is. Just disregard the interludes and voice samples. They serve to drive the story, of course, but the story is not that interesting and anyway difficult to follow.

Getting back to the pluses. Virtuoso instrumentalists, with guitar it is common, but bass here is truly outstanding. And even better vocals - powerful and bright, more pop than metal. The singer later replaced Roy Khan in Kamelot, but his talents are wasted there... But, with all the great music, horrible, horrible lyrics. They are better in the previous and following albums, but here... Argh.

If I were forced to look for drawbacks, I could mention that for such loud and bombastic music such album length is too much. It's difficult really to listen it from beginning to the end. But it's like saying there is too much of a good thing. So, a 4,5 rating would be in order. that means we have to round up. Well I like the band so much, and I want them to succeed - which unfortunately, they can't despite all the good praise they get - so 5.

Report this review (#995761)
Posted Thursday, July 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's hard to be impartial concerning music. As a psychologist, I know we attribute sentimental values in our opinions, waiting for others to agree with our points-of-view. So what I can say about this band, this album in special, is they touch me deeply in my soul/heart. I'd found here the perfect combination of guitar and keyboard melodies, with the smashing vocals of Tommy, one of the most powerful voices I ever heard in metal, and this I recomend for every metal fan, you must hear him in Seventh Wonder and Kamelot's new too. Mercy falls is one of my preferred albuns, side-by-side with Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory, pretending to respect and repeat some melodies that returns and repeats in several tracks. This is one of the most captivating styles on progmetal, the conceitual albuns, and the stories it tells.
Report this review (#996513)
Posted Friday, July 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars What is it about progressive metal concept albums about people in comas? Queensryche kicked the trend off with Operation: Mindcrime, Ayreon did it with The Human Equation, and the same plot device shows up in Seventh Wonder's Mercy Falls. In fact, the overall premise is very similar to The Human Equation's, since both involve a protagonist who following a car crash has to undergo a range of intense reflections on their interior troubles and their relations with others, though I have to give Mercy Falls the edge with its plot; the personal revelations involved about the protagonist's family life mean there's something substantial to actually discover beyond psychological platitudes, whilst the motif of the town of Mercy Falls helps aesthetically tie things together. On top of that, Seventh Wonder set this all off against a great musical backing, reminiscent of a more tasteful Dream Theater, which really rounds out the package.
Report this review (#1589702)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2016 | Review Permalink

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