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Seven Steps To The Green Door - The ?  Book CD (album) cover


Seven Steps To The Green Door


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR is a German act that was formed in 2006, with the sophomore production appearing two years later, both albums harvesting their fair share of plaudits one might add. "The ? Book" from 2011 is their third full-length production, and the first of their albums to be released by the German label Progressive Promotion Records.

While perhaps not as mesmerizing as their previous album to my ears, " The ? Book" is an intriguing conceptual production, covering multiple stylistic expressions and exploring a religious theme in a rather innovative manner. Adventurous but accessible is a description that defines this disc for me, and as far as recommendations go I'd hazard a guess that most people who enjoy acts like Magic Pie should find themselves intrigued by this album.

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Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
4 stars Sometimes being a lover of lyrics can really be a downer. I can't help myself, though. I really cannot absorb an album unless I also absorb the lyrical content, and that lyrical content can even ruin an album for me. I'm sorry to say that Seven Steps to the Green Door's "The Book" is one such album, though I still love the music.

Seven Steps to the Green Door is a German group full of talented musicians and eclectic ideas. The band is classified as neo-prog here, but they shift from style to style seamlessly, so I don't think any genre would be able to keep them. Yes, we get neo-prog, but we also get metal, alternative, and wonderful ballads. The band utilizes an incredible drummer to keep the music intense, but also a diverse range of guitar work, from riffing to finger work. The band overall has a personality and funkiness that is so attractive and absorbing. It's quite impressive. In fact, I'd call this music daring, and they experiment and explore freely.

One of the best parts of the music is the presence of Marek Arnold and his array of keys and sax. Seriously, anything this guys plays on is pure gold. From his jazzy sax to his ethereal keys atmospheres to his incredible solos and leads, Marek really carries the melody on this album. The incredible interplay between proggy keys and metal is especially enjoyable for me.

Like I said, though, the lyrical content is a bit of a letdown for me. Now, this band is daring, as I said. The concept is ambitious and well-written, and very complex, too. It involves a man being locked in a room with six doors. He simply needs to escape the room, and he relies solely on his faith in God to do so. Long story short, he realizes through his experiences behind those doors that he needs to trust himself to escape the room, and, when he discovers this, he finds a seventh door (a green one, obviously) that leads him to his lover and to true divinity (love). I've heard all this nonsense before in a myriad of other forms, and it irks me to no end with its shallowness that masquerades as depth and truth. Reality is far more complicated than just trusting yourself for everything and leaving thousands of years of ancient wisdom behind you. It's foolish and arrogant, to be honest.

Okay, I'm done. This is an excellent album musically, and I will listen to it often for years to come. However, I felt I must mention my issues with the lyrics, and I hope that it has at least inspired you to give the album and lyrics a try, too.

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Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars For their 3rd album, eclectic Germans from Seven Steps to the Green Door did a concept album inspired by the biblical story of salvation. An admirable concept admirably realized - not in a dumb, Neal Morse-ian kind of way. However, that idea by definition precludes the playfulness displayed on their previous album. The stylistic mix has been mostly reduced to lightly metal guitars (including pretty cool solos) with some nice synths and soulful vocals. Jazz, funk, the saxes and the flutes make briefer appearances. No rapping, but there is a growling. Hey, I am never the one for repeating themselves, and this record shows how a masterful arranger the band leader Marek Arnold is. Production is VERY clean. But the problem, there is little here that would be as inherently catchy or memorable as their last album. My favorite fragment is the heavy prog-meets-disco appearing gradually at the middle of The Healing Wonder. There are other good songs too, but they mostly follow the metal-disco-soul-christian ballad formula.
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Posted Friday, January 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
4 stars It took another three years for SSTTGD to come back with their third album. As is implied by the title, this was a concept album, which saw them keep the same line-up but bring in many more guest musicians, especially singers. It also saw Martin Schnella assisting on guitar for a couple of songs, and he would be a full-time member by the time of the next album. The story is based on the Biblical story of creation, and contains some of their heaviest material both lyrically and musically. "The Crying Child (1st Nail)" has Andreas blasting out the riffs and providing some great runs while Marek is on a Hammond and Ulf provides a heavy backbeat so that it comes across almost as if Meshuggah were crossed with Uriah Heep. Of course, being SSTTGD the song doesn't stay like that for too long, with Marek switching to piano and Andreas to acoustic, and a child taking a vocal role to foil against Ronny Gruber.

It is always risky bringing religion into music as it tends to upset people in one way or another. Me, I have never let it worry me, so if Neal Morse (for example) wants to sing about his beliefs then that is fine with me as I will stay enjoy what is being performed, and the same goes for the many black metal or death metal bands. I can honestly say that I have never been inspired to do anything suggested by Cannibal Corpse, which is just as well both for the other person involved and also because I would end up in jail. For me it is all about the music and what is happening with the song, and on that score it is yet another really interesting album that I have enjoyed playing immensely. If I was to rate it against the others I would probably say that it is the one I enjoyed least, and that had nothing to do with the lyrics but more that it wasn't quite as eclectic as the others, but when put up against other bands it still more than stands the test. This is the one I would point to last of the four albums to date, but still very worthwhile hearing indeed.

Report this review (#1913063)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2018 | Review Permalink

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