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Seven Steps To The Green Door


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Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is the second album of a trilogy after "THE?BOOK". The story of this concept is about religious fanatism experience through a family. The concept is from of George Andrade who wrote a lyric book out of Thoraff Koss story. The band invited plenty of musicians from the Prog Rock world to play this new opera. The album is 1 song divided into 11 parts with some narration but not too much at the beginning and at the end to close the story. There is a good variety of mood and atmosphere throughout this album with a lot of space left to some male and female vocals, some vocalize at times. In the first part, we recognize a bit of a Haken influence, and others a bit of Ayreon, but that's about it. The band have their own style and make good use of the sax throughout the album, with piano and keys. There is also an exotic violin part and some heavier guitar parts. The atmosphere and the pace change quite often with some quieter passages The most complex passage is in the part "A Price to Prey II" who display many rhythm changes. "Heaven" show some vocals in unison to bring the song to an emotional peak. The music continues to deliver some beautiful vocals harmonies male/female. There are some creative passages that will surprise throughout this album, it could come out from a heavy sax part, a short bass break or some original keyboards melodies. In the end, we can hear some darker atmosphere with some furious passages with the guitar ending with some long female vocalize and intense instrumental ending! This is a nice follow-up to The "Fetish" album and also the first part of the trilogy "THE?BOOK"
Report this review (#2167205)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars This album marks a starting point, I mean the thriving collaboration of US writer/lyricist George Andrade and the band's driving forces Ulf Reinhardt as well as allrounder Marek Arnold. 'THE?LIE' hereby is the second part of a trilogy exactly, which saw the lift-off in 2011 with the critically acclaimed production 'The?Book'. Andrade already had substantial impact on a couple of albums in the past, as there is 'AIRS - A Rock Opera', together with German guitarist Steve Brockmann, or 'Back From Being Gone', released in 2011 with US band The Anabasis. There are some more, but those are familiar to me at least.

According to such a reputation, and alongside with some first-hand relations, it does not really sound uncommon anymore that they eventually came together at one time or another. 'Samuel ... come to your Father!' - content-wise, lyrically seen, the album is dealing with religious extremism. Tells the story of a family around that protagonist, who are caught up in rather fanatic actions. In order to transport the lyrics in a confident way some exceptional vocalists are present. First and foremost Lars Köhler (Samuel), Jana Pöche (Mother) and the masterful Peter Jones of Red Bazar and Tiger Moth Tales fame, representing Samuel's father.

Don't blame me for a restricted description, just don't want to reveal too much. Anyway - 'what makes you think that you've got a choice?' - the story runs while Father empathically wished to see him following his footsteps. Albeit Samuel is falling in love with Evangeline (The Lover), including pregnancy finally. He will be accused for betraying god then ... quarrel, tragic, the dramaturgy takes its course. It must be a very ambitious experience. Is it a benefit to work on that with a singer who is sightless? Well, can't slip into their shoes, can't really imagine what it needs to implement cinematic circumstances for the attentive listener. To express particular emotions and mood according to the flow. Besides the more narrative portions to precisely join notes and words to something enjoyable in that manner.

I would say, with good reason, the special symbiosis of story and music is dedicated to the English-driven natives amongst us, most of all. You might be able to fully capture this. Furthermore, technically seen, the SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR musicians are offering an epic achievement which shows emotive and virtuoso facility overall, blends art rock and prog metal in a remarkable manner, including violin and diverse wind instruments. Exemplary, the haunting A Dream That Strayed - I comes with sensitive guitar, great vocals and excellently appointed piano lines. Goosebumps! Overall 'THE?LIE' represents a profound workout with about 50 minutes playing time. 4.5 PA stars so far. Preferably should be taken in one go. Now it's your turn.

Report this review (#2182154)
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Back with their fifth studio album, SSTTGD have finally presented us with the follow-up in the concept which was started in their third, 'The?Book'. It is quite clearly stated that the story is to be continued but given there has been eight years between the first two parts don't expect it any time soon. Although this is a band album, in many ways it feels more like a Clive Nolan offering in that they have brought in many other musicians and singers to play certain parts. Peter Jones (Camel, Tiger Moth Tales, Red Bazar) here has a speaking part, and provides complete authority as Father. Interestingly, there is a statement in the digipak asking listeners to go to the website and read the story first, before playing the album itself. The story itself is by Thoralf Koss, while George Andrade then produced both lyrics and narration based on that, neither of whom are in the band. The music was composed by the founders of SSTTGD, Marek Arnold and Ulf Reinhardt.

If that isn't enough, my version of the CD comes with an A5 lyric book which also contains a working of the story. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of effort and money put into releases by bands who are unlikely to see a return, yet large music corporations do as little as possible so they can maximise the profit, even if it puts musicians on the breadline. As one expects from any of Marek's musical adventures there is plenty of piano as well as keyboards, while his saxophone always makes valuable contributions ' by now he must be one of the most well-known sax players in progdom, not an area where that instrument is often featured, yet here he makes it seem an integral part of the whole.

Given the complexity of the storyline, which revolves around a family led by a religious fanatic, it is not surprising that the music is also full of twists and turns. There is a section of 'A Dream That Strayed' which is pop funk, but it's okay, it doesn't stay that way for too long. At times it crunches, and at others is incredibly symphonic, with sometimes spoken word being the centre of attention, at others it is one of the singers, or it can be an extended musical passage. Harmonies abound, and a sweeping production makes this sound huge. There are just a few times where the words are deemed to be more important than the music, which does cause a slight jar when they don't really fit together, but when the band is on a roll such as on 'A Price To Pray II' then all is forgiven. Overall this is quite an undertaking from the guys, and I look forward to the conclusion of the story with great interest.

Report this review (#2251299)
Posted Saturday, September 14, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR was formed 15 years ago, and came to some prominence rather quickly due to a music competition and their debut album "The Puzzle" back in 2006. Since then a further four studio albums have appeared by the band. "The ? Lie" dates back to the spring of 2019, and was released by German label Progressive Promotion Records.

Religious fanaticism is an important subject, and the fallout from that is something of a core theme on this rock opera. A certain interest in this topic will probably be needed to get the most out of this production, as the concept does dominate this album through and through, with only the final few compositions providing room for longer instrumental sections. But if this is something that tickles your fancy, and a band that mainly alternates between various aspects of neo-progressive rock and harder edged progressive rock sounds like a good thing, this is an album that merits a check. Die hard fans of concept albums are well advised to revisit this band's earlier album "The ? Book" first though, to explore the initial part of this concept cycle.

Report this review (#2266021)
Posted Thursday, October 3, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A very nicely constructed rock opera with some great guest performances. Reminiscent of the grand productions of Arjen Lucassen with the sound of UNITOPIA or SYLVAN. Great sound production and, what's more, I can understand every word of every singer/narrator.

1. "A? - I" (2:56) Noah's father setting the scene. (4/5)

2. "Salvation" (3:18) simple yet enticing song construct with some pretty awesome vocals from Peter Jones. (9.25/10)

3. "A Price To Pray - I" (2:51) the band finally gets to launch into full sound--a full 90 seconds of instrumental display. It's heavy yet psychedelic. The voice of Noah are strong and metallic. (8.5/10)

4. "A Dream That Strayed - I" (4:35) opens like a JEFF BECK/COLIN TENCH bluesy guitar show piece with piano and delicate drum and synth play in accompaniment. In the second minute vocals enter from male (Lars Köhler playing the role of Samuel, I believe) as piano, syncopated drums, fretless bass and synth chords support. A lecture from Father ensues in which Samuel is told that his "disrespectful" girlfriend must go. Simple yet sensitive, pretty, and powerful. Excellent vehicle for storytelling. (10/10)

5. "A Price To Pray - II" (5:10) Samuel is commanded to recite passages from the Bible as the music speeds along beneath, throughout. The weave is a kind of whole-band study of discipline and timing as stops, power weaves, incidental instrumentals, and vocals flit in and out of the flow. Cool violin solo at the 3:00 mark followed by a solid metal (Eddie Van Halen-like) electric guitar soloing intermixed with some angry vocals. (8.75/10)

6. "A Dream That Strayed - II" (3:00) dated synth chords and bass pulses support vocals from Anne Trautman and Lars Köhler in the roles of Samuel's girlfriend and Samuel, respectively. (Samuel is saying goodbye in fulfillment of his father's command.) Ends with a dreamy patch of synth/keys sounding like something out of Interstellar before bleeding into the next song. (9/10)

7. "A? - II" (2:53) continues the music from the previous song as Samuel laments and his Father commends him. Nice guitar solo in the second half doubles up on the emotional distress that Samuel is going through. (5/5)

8. "Heaven" (1:30) takes the themes of the previous song and turns it into an organ-supported choral piece of supportive advice: "Don't walk away" and "heaven is inside you." Nice! (5/5)

9. "The Word Made Flesh" (7:05) Samuel's girlfriend is pregnant! Beautiful vocals from Samuel's girlfriend (Anne Trautmann) and a second female performing vocalise in the background (also Anne? Jana Pöche? Annemarie Schmid?) It gets heavy in the fifth minute as men enter and try to exert their power. Argument between Father and Mother is powerful--ending in some kind of violence (I think). Really beautiful song, great music and, again, great vocal performances from the women. (14/15)

10. "Hear My Voice Tonight" (9:57) opens with a piercingly high, beautiful female voice, soon joined by a male, and then another. Three voices woven together very nicely. One man takes the leave saying how he "was saved by loving once before." A true stage-crafted song, with multiple voices participating as well as several musical themes weaving in and out of the mix, this makes me wonder if the band has aspirations to perform this as a musical stage play. They'd have to expand it but that would give them time to develop the characters a little better. I think it would work wonderfully. A somber piano-based motif takes over at the 5:30 mark, oboe soloing beautifully over the top. 75 seconds later a chunky-bass-heavy theme takes over within which the vocal ensemble reappear to assert themselves (though I'm not sure what has been accomplished.) Things soften and slow for the jazzy final minute as sax and electric guitars take us into the album's final song. (17.5/20)

11. "Come To Your Father" (10:07) starts off very heavy--almost URIAH HEEP-like but heavier--with some quite strong rasp-metal vocals from Noah (Lars Köhler). Jana Pöche's vocals representing the mother are quite strong, not unlike prog metal diva Simone Simons or Anneke van Giersbergen, as are "twin" Anne Trautmann's. The music then settles at 2:30 into a beautiful SYLVAN-esque section over which the story of dysfunctional parenting is displayed in a raw Posthumous Silence-kind of way. Beautiful vocalise in this section from someone (Annemarie Schmid?). The seventh minute sees a thickening of sound with a great chord sequence that slowly builds over the next five minutes as the instruments work toward the final climax. Well done! Great balance of instruments and great sound production. (19/20)

Total time: 53:22

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music--carrying a powerful story with powerful, well constructed music just the way progressive rock music was meant to do.

Great storytelling, great musical construct, great performances from all vocalists. My favorite part of the entire album were the two prolonged sections of female vocalise. Who was that singer?

Definitely an album that I will enjoy for many years.

Report this review (#2266792)
Posted Sunday, October 6, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR is a group I met in 2008 with "Step in my world 2" surfing on a singular fusion related productions Mr Bungle it is true! The following "The Book" was more seduced me by incorporating a mixture of phrasing, trumpet, jazz, death metal, clarinet, rap staccato words in level, vocal harmonies to a tote better organized. At references or genres, one hand on very disparate groups from THE TANGENT to DAMANEK, TOXIC SMILE, of FLAMING ROW, TIGER MOTH TALES, CAMEL, of RESISTOR (remember his eye on 'underground' ) and PROJECT PATCHWORK. Personally I will add the AYREON, the Haken, of FAITH NO MORE, JOE JACKSON and SYLVAN'S. We are thus at first sight in the crossover-fusion to fusion definition. In pure musical level, it is a concept album like the good old days when the various titles are linked to as and more or less logical and Dante with growth for the last 3! The texts themselves relate religious fanaticism, their constraints and their impact on our society (in this case, the impact on an illegitimate child and consequences). At level musicians and singers, not less than 11 and 8 of the above groups and others for a singular work. Well, dive in! their constraints and their impact on our society (in this case, the impact on an illegitimate child and consequences). At level musicians and singers, not less than 11 and 8 of the above groups and others for a singular work. Well, dive in! their constraints and their impact on our society (in this case, the impact on an illegitimate child and consequences). At level musicians and singers, not less than 11 and 8 of the above groups and others for a singular work. Well, dive in!

" AT? I "opens the way with phrasing and a battery as the introduction of the story sung and played," Salvation "continued Clarinet and more and greater orchestration," A price to pay-I "follows with the first real title sound AYREON with synthesizers and guitar riff fat, voice ensuring the transition from more song provided with different voices. a rock sensation was vintage hard limit with an energetic guitar solo on a good battery present. "A Dream That I strayed" adds sax on guitar and clarinet for a developing trend in 2019 as these often reserved for jazz instruments make their big splash here; is singular but not hurt. "A price to pray-II" denotes literally from the start with a rhythm to DREAM THEATER, Song approaching by the energy released from TESSERACT or HAKEN; a death metal voice and limit an aside with an air "Russian Gypsy" and a chopped violin, somewhat surprising more. "A dream - II" brings a gently coolest development, almost clear, almost classical music with a female voice to male associated to the Marco SYLVAN'S; a guitar solo leads back to more rock style. "A? -II" prolongs the effect with a return voice phrased leaving "Heaven" from a prog atmosphere to see NEAL MORSE THE TANGENT about 1'30 '', almost a temporal aberration for these two groups mentioned !. The plus is that these titles chained with different musical well drawers pleasantly pass from one to another. Let us come to the last 3 titles that are for me the best of the album:

"Hear my voice tonight," follows a neo-prog sound accentuated, then a digression jazzy sax and guitar with alternating smooth and fast paced, all with piano tunes JOE JACKSON; it's beautiful, looking, innovative to find a new melody from old rhythms at the base; the effect of the atmosphere of the disc takes guts and gives a clear soundtrack over the tracks, while the principle of progressive rock actually. "Come to your father" comes as the climax to 10 'without interruption; was the AYREON rather one of "The theater equation" coincidentally with guitars and synths chopped was of THE GATHERING, the STREAM OF PASSION in the preamble with a voice to Allen. The guitar is strong, fruity, quick on a metal-prog crescendo enjoyable; Note to 2'35 '' pure acoustic air, light guitar and a drawn development of an album MIKE OLDFIELD, it's almost disturbing because we do not expect it at all, then it's an air of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT happens; to 7 'was downright right to a general recovery in fireworks and a quieter final limit room bringing a form of serenity and these are not the final seconds with nervous riff that will change anything, except to put the CD on the way!

Melting pot of sounds, a prog crucible melting, the voice worked on pulling the rock opera, instruments jazzy at times, a rise of unique styles but belonging to the progressive sphere, group names that suggest to ... but what a purely unique sound SEVEN STEPS tO tHE GREEN DOOR! An album to decipher but which is relatively easily cut through securities. An album by disturbing fusion of different genres, a remarkable album ultimately to integrate what is currently best in the musical movement PROFILE PROG prog metal section.

Report this review (#2310396)
Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | Review Permalink

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