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7 for 4 - Contact CD (album) cover


7 for 4

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Do you like bands like Liquid Tension Experiment? do you fancy instrumental multi-collective albums? do you enjoy incomparable technique? of course you do! you are a prog fan, after all!

Wolfgang Zenk, a highly underestimated guitar virtuoso, took the place of Markus Steffen of Sieges Even who had left the band right after the release of the best 90's european prog album "A Sense Of Change". The albums that Sieges Even recorded with him - "Sophisticated" and "Uneven" are also highly underrated.

Five years later, after the temporary ending of Sieges Even, he formed 7 For 4. The musicians that play with him, in this debut, are unknown to me but are all excellent players setting the base upon which Wolfgang unfolds his talent.

It's not only his great guitar playing, but Wolfgang here, lays his letters of accreditation to composing, structuring and arranging real songs. Rock, metal, prog, latin, jazz/fusion. Everything performed in excellency, without boring you, with the most interesting ideas flowing with grace.

Report this review (#141113)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I cannot believe that this album has only 8 ratings and one written review. Unbelievable.

This album is a masterpiece of progressive metal. Now before anyone stops reading because you don't like progressive metal, consider Liquid Tension Experiment who are classified as progressive metal. I understand that some progressive metal turns people off, particularly any screaming vocals or overly loud instruments. This is, in my opinion, true progressive metal. This music isn't quite as heavy as some of LTE's compositions but it is definitely more progressive. This is prog-metal that showcases the musicality of the 7 For 4 in a way that will leave you (well, it leaves me!) in awe. You have to hear it to believe it.

My Favourite Tracks:

E-Gyptian: This was the first track that really drew me into the album. The unique guitar theme never gets old in this song and the percussion maintains the rhythm of the song perfectly.

Highlands: The theme in this song is also addictive. It starts off with calming, jazzy piano and side-sticking percussion. The song evolves quite a bit over 7 minutes.

Rockalaxy: It stars with another catchy riff. This song doesn't change much but it's still a great tune.

Subspace Distortion: One of my favourite prog tracks of all time. This song is truly a masterpiece and shows the range of music these guys can incorporate into a single song. The synth in this song is extremely well done and, I must say, the solo by Zenk at about 4:30 amazes me everytime I hear it.

This album, in my opinion, is much better than Time, their second album.

Conclusion: This is one of my favourite progressive rock albums. Please check out this album if you LTE, you'll be doing yourself a big favour. If you're not as keen after reading this review, I still recommend it to you. It's a great introduction to how progressive prog-metal can be!

5 Stars without hesitation.

Report this review (#152467)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice modern heavy/fusion band led by guitarist Wolfgang Zenk,former member of the prog metal band ''Sieges Even'',with whom he recorded the great albums ''Uneven'' and ''Sophisticated''.7 FOR 4 are a four-piece act,coming from Munich ,and released their debut in 2001,entitled ''Contact''.This is an all instrumental effort very close to the likes of DEREK SHERINIAN solo albums and LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT,that means highly-energetic and powerful jazzy/fusion prog with lots of different moods,breaks and time changes.The music is trully inspired with good melodies and a heavy dose of complexity,presenting the tremendous skillful playing by bassist Markus Grutzner and the chaotic drumming of Klaus Engl.Keyboardist Markus Froshmeier prefers a rather backing supporting role with groovy piano lines and distinctive keyboards around...and Zenk is an absolute virtuoso of guitar,delivering memorable themes,including funky rhythms,jazzy parts,an almost metal soloing style,even some Latin-inspired themes.For anyone who doesn't mind his jazz/fusion experience with a harder edge,''Contact'' is absolutely essential.A very tight band with an extremely rich sound!...3,5 stars for me...
Report this review (#175814)
Posted Monday, June 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can't believe any prog reviewer or collaborator has not written an appropiate review for this record. Here four German virtuosos show us what they are capable of. 7 for 4 play a mixture of instrumental metal combined with jazz and latin music. This in my opinion is the closest metal will ever get to prog , much more quiet and varied than Liquid Tension Experiment albums.

The band is leaded by former Sieges Even axeman Wolfgang Zenk and his guitar shines on the 51 minutes this album last. A fair example of this could be the brillant opener X- Dreams which also features a fretless bass intro by Markus Grutzner. Another song which shows truly progressive nature is the latin-influenced E- Gyptian , it has a Dyango Reinhardt like acustic intro!

Probably I won't consifer this album a masterpiece of progressive music because it wears thin on the only song with vocals: Catking , and let me tell you it's not a bad tune. The question is that the standard this album has set is so high , that an average tune could look awful on it.

Suming up , if you come from the bright side of prog ( the symph , jazz fusiony, canterburish one) and you can't stand metal in any form , this album.... it won't make you a metalhead but it will show you that there are some truly talented musicians out there who don't get much recognition. Contact deserves a listen from every progressve music fan.

4.5 stars for me

Report this review (#188560)
Posted Sunday, November 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars FABULOUS!This is the perfect beginning for a band made of unbelieveble talented musicians,music teachers ,and this proves that aggressive fusion has a beautiful future!Trully impressive and wonderful indeed!Performed at superlative,production crystal clear and some amazing demonstration from the man who bringed a new beginning to the German prog cult band SIEGES EVEN ,on 2 amazing albums-SOPHISTICATED and UNEVEN!WOLFGANG ZENK is a monster guitar player which can play no matter musical style and the variety of the album makes it even more catchy and interesting!WOLFGANG is surrounded by a top class team,and each of them has a serious contribution to the funal product,an album full of rich musical ideas and inspired compositions!One of the most amazing debut albums I've ever noticed!All 3 releases of 7 for 4 cd 's are essential,because all are so good!Simple and true!5 STARS and DANKE SCHON FUR DIE MUSIK!
Report this review (#252365)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is German band 7 FOR 4's debut released in 2001. The leader and guitarist is Wolfgang Zenk who played on two albums ("Sophistication" & "Uneven") for SIEGES EVEN in the nineties. I'm sure it's coincidence but I couldn't get into those two SIEGES EVEN albums either but love the one's before and after them. The guy is a virtuoso no doubt but i'm not digging his style for some reason. He's playing more of a Fusion style here but he does mix it up quite a bit. This is all instrumental except for one track. It is a technical album no doubt and I must admit those are hit and miss for me. I love the LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT band that many compare this group to, but I find this to be very different than what they've put out.

"X-Dreams" starts out with gentle guitar but it gets fuller and fuller until he's lighting it up.The tempo continue to change. "Tokamak" opens with someone laughing followed by a full sound with the guitar out in front as bass and drums support. "La Provence" is more laid back with outbreaks. Nice chunky bass after 5 minutes. "E-Gyptian" is uptempo with intricate guitar then it gets fuller.

"Highlands" sounds better. It's more relaxed and we get some piano. I like the bass. It picks up as contrasts continue. "Rushian" kicks in before a minute with guitar leading the way. It settles again. Marching style drums 3 1/2 minutes in as it builds. "Rockalaxy" is crunchy then it lightens up, but it's back and forth. "Catking" has vocals on it. It's heavier 2 1/2 minutes in then it settles back with vocals. Contrasts continue. It's an okay tune. "Subspace Destination" hits the ground running. This sounds so good but then it it settles the rest of the way.

I've had this one for a while but it's just never clicked with me. 3.5 stars for the playing alone.

Report this review (#282832)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars At a glimpse 7 FOR 4 is a German mature, lofty and sophisticated band gathering some other extremely interesting distinctive features at the same time being very unknown at least outside its country borders. The huge gap between the inherent quality deriving from these attributes and their very poor media exposure makes from this band one of the biggest surprises in the field of good prog with the mention that their music melts many influences beyond the metal prog as first impression assigned thereof.

While saluting and respecting the existing biography (a good ground for the German natives audiophiles) that points out the solid background of the band members, this complementary intro intends to make one step focused towards the features that defines the personality of this amazing band.

7 FOR 4 is one of those rare bands that make no compromise for commercial reasons and no abuse of eclecticism just to impress while touching in an enchanting way the highest music-filters of a listener mind. The band members are not simply guided by the idea of channeling the group energy for widening the audience but for expressing their own concepts at an upper class standard.

It is a band with a remarkable capacity to look at a song motive from different angles and then to lift it up - usually in contemplative (or even 'meditative' as a very competent friend suggested me) steps - to higher levels. A main band hallmark is that it frequently succeeds to assort in an original and truly recognizable manner these peak points with brilliant fluid and even magmatic passages.

A special mention for their presumed hard preparation work: carefully selected transitions between passages and delightful assorted atmospheric backgrounds are in detail arranged for emphasizing these 'climax' moments.

One may argue that sometimes 7 FOR 4 may sound like Rush or Malmsteen, like moments of Derek Sherinian and Planet X, like Focus (in their elevated sequences) or even like the much colder Liquid Tension Experiment etc. I would not contradict them at all but in this case these similarities have no negative connotation (as the lack of ideas) but rather prove this band positive chameleonic capacity to explore, in a fine and exquisite manner, divers corners of good prog music making use of its members' impressive virtuosity. Among them Wolfgang Zenk glares as his astonishing versatility that covers an incredible wide range of guitar techniques is breaking all barriers between artist and instrument leaving free way to express his ideas.

In conclusion, although they have not quite opened a new door, their very high quality music and genuine approach combined with a distinctive expression stile are strongly recommending them for listeners and for a reconsideration of their recognition at a higher level.

Their first album, CONTACT (2001), is simply a gem to which, if the site had allowed, I would have offered 4.5 stars because it clearly reflects the before mentioned conclusion.

If I would go higher with the appreciations you would be probably inclined to look cautious. Therefore, with apologies for the limits coming from the fact that I am not a English mother tongue speaker, I am inviting you, despite possible preconceived ideas, to allow your precious time for listening this sensational band starting with this album that fully deserves your attention.

X Dreams = setting from the beginning the band's overall approach: introspective and atmospheric track with thematic transpositions are capturing the listener in a flight over the expected borders. The well positioned in between tempo cuts reminds us the main motive and are linked through elegant and inspired transition passages. One of this band highlights.

Tokamak = a half step aside the main line, a sample proving their capacity to compose songs with the mark 'speed & cold" that might have encouraged comparisons between them and Liquid Tension Experiment.

La Provence = starting with a nice classic motive (reminding of Focus) is then attaching some heavy rhythms - apparently changing the direction - for coming back before mid-track with the initial motive at higher speed and upper elevation. After a short dreaming moment a second tour is lifted up with the support of the foreground guitar that leads the fluid music being afterwards followed by some nice jazzy rhythms. A fine and creative idea and a proof of band's capacity to approach complex thematic explorations and one of the album peaks.

E-Ggyptian = flavour and energy spread over a complex technical texture. The Mediterranean motive from the beginning (as in Di Meola first albums) is mixed with high energy and fluid episodes (the fine mark of this band). Though one of the most appreciated songs by critics, the harsh jumps between those two facets does not allow the band to fully 'exploit' the whole potential of this valuable theme.

Highlands = again in the stream of this album with good passages and high level of emotion injected from its beginning. Very successful thematic variations doubled by nice contemplative approach. A title consonant with the message transferred and a beautiful lyric end.

Rushian = a sort of instigative beginning (a combination resulted from the oriental motive plus the obsessive background) used for further developments that reminds of Derek Sherinian's construction style. The passage in the middle sounds a little bit like Straits' Telegraph Road and is followed by bright ascending spiral final part (a 7 FOR 4 hallmark).

Rockalaxy = the electric start on an anonymous speedy theme does not reveal the fine moody introspection searches it evolves afterwards. Theatrical orchestral passages combined with fluid guitar transitions are framing these different style sequences. The jump between sensible sequences and the powerful ones are of wonderful quality. Without being a memorable track it proves the high standard and self confidence level the band has achieved.

Catking = surprisingly, a song with voices. Much darker, with many faster and technical passages is combining diverse stiles (with 7 FOR 4 fusion is as usually at ease ).

Subspace Distortion = a high speed start with lot of organ in the back followed by atmospheric interludes and then a bass preparation for Zenk's clear chords which turn soon into an energetic fluid magma that reveals us eventually the initial motive. A courageous and good ending song, not so comestible, that lets the door on the jar for future prospection.

Other reviews of 7 FOR 4 albums are on the way.

Report this review (#1360731)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2015 | Review Permalink

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