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

FETISH

Seven Steps To The Green Door

Neo-Prog


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Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars German band SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR first appeared as recording artists in 2006, earning themselves some accolades and awards in their local music scene for their initial production. Since then they have released new albums a few years apart, often made with an eclectic and inclusive take on progressive rock. "Fetish" is their fourth studio recording, released by Progressive Promotion Records in 2015.

Seven Steps To The Green Door has crafted a magnificent album with "Fetish", it's as easy as that. The sheer diversity of this album will perhaps alienate some, but the generally easy-flowing compositions are easier on the ears than you would imagine from a band incorporating such a great diversity into their material. And a top quality mix and production also ensure that these fairly challenging compositions are easy to enjoy. An eclectic recording well worth inspecting, and on my personal shortlist as a strong contender for album of the year for 2015.

Report this review (#1455882)
Posted Monday, August 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars 94/100 "Fetish" was released September 11. Sounds more like crossover prog or eclectic prog then neo-Prog to moi, but let's not quibble. "SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR" is a German band with 4 albums to their credit. I believe "Fetish" to be their Mona Lisa.

The artist in residence and big brain behind this tour de force is Marek Arnold (keyboards, sax, and clarinet) Kind of like a Steven Wilson in miniature, as Marek reinvents himself as a musician, producer, composer and arranger. Mareck is also the keyboardist for progressive metal band "Toxic Smile", founder of "Cyril", was a member of "Stern Combo Meissen", and lately can be heard contributing mightily to Progarchive favorite-"MANNING".

Marek composed "Fetish" with the help of drummer/ percussionist Ulf Reinhardt. Rounding out the lineup -Lars Koehler (vocals), Arno Menses (vocals), Anne Trautmann (vocals), Martin Schnella (guitars), Daniel Mash (Machine, UPF, Ex The Tangent) / bass, and Steve Unruh (UPF) / instruments . Whoa, did you say three vocalists? Uh huh, and on their debut album "The Puzzle", SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR picked up a couple of kinky German Pop and Rock awards. Don't worry friends, "Fetish" is NOT a pop album. The only thing Popish about fetishes palette are "Cherry stopping ice cream vocals", but Arno, Anne, and Lars drop behind the beat and sing bizarre time signatures and unique three ways.

Fetish makes me fantasize of intensely engaging car rides from a volcanic Kona sutra sunrise, deep down plush valleys, up thru a black forest entangled in a jungle of teeth , climaxing under pink Mediterranean sunsets, drinks served foaming- white washed fishing village- bougainvillea and veranda'ed, trail blazing topographies flowing effortlessly over ragdolls running thru it all, sunflowers and daisies from one humid end to another. Acappella medieval harmony converges on a secret King Crimson- Gentile Giant collaboration orgy. I could mention other influences, but I won't because Fetish is progressive original art. Razor sharp mental scenery- aural nods to pop, metal, crossover, jazz and eclectic neonatal prog.

So, I've taken "Fetish" five times. Each time, shocked at how progressive "Fetish" truly is... and let me count the addictive ways vocals can be presented. Wow! I'm awed, Fetish intensifies, jaw dropping masterpiece, a contender for my 2015 album of the year. So, If you find an intense need to push limits, crave freaky time signatures, cream for velvet vocal harmonies, yearn for Steven Wilson level composition skills, then earmuff and handcuff yourself to Fetish in a hotel room! Or better yet, take "Seven Steps To The Green Door"- tune in, turn on and press play "Fetish", on a prog rock streaming site near you,

Five golden rings for Fetish!

Report this review (#1464921)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars I have heard their music previously and after listening to this one, i can say without hesitation that this is their best yet. The music is a complex combination of progressive rock styles from jazz rock, modern metal with some djent riffs and symphonic adventures. The first part is showing many influences from old bands, like Gentle Giant with some vocals harmonies, and some Frank Zappa time signatures with saxophone. But the biggest influence seems to come from modern bands like Haken because of this kind of progressive rock that play with the listener by incorporating many styles and tempo changes in a single song. Many songs and especially the impressive epics "Still Searching" and "Ordinary Maniac" shows some dramatic moments where the vocals harmonies and the music comes together with growing intensity. The female and male vocals performance must have taken a lot of work here to achieve such results. The band has managed throughout this cd to combine some modern metal sound with those vocals harmonies to create some beautiful melodies without letting any technical demonstration dominate. The song "Inferior" show the control insanity of this band with quick mood changes by throwing in their serious music approach a bit of pop and lighter music. In the song "Imprisoned" the vintage keyboards are screaming with the mean male voice before a impressive break in which the drums are setting the pace for the rest of the band. "Bound in Chains" is a breather with his slower pace but with another dramatic part lead by the brilliant vocal harmonies again. You get the picture. How can i say something wrong with this little gem.
Report this review (#1468109)
Posted Monday, September 21, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first contact to this album was in the car of a friend, which wanted to introduce it to me. I'm happy, that I wasn't the driver , this album really knocked me out! While I was blown away by that outstanding singers and the melodic approach to very complex songs, my first thought was "Haken" due to some modern sounding elements and funny musical ideas. ( cp esp. 'Imferiour'!). After some meetz with my friend google I had to realize, that seven steps to the green door is active since 2006 (?) , so if their first releases are only nearly as good it's a shame I didn't know this band before. I ordered a physical copy of the album now - and the predecessors, too. Maybe I will review these later...

Just one thing: I don't think, this is Neo Prog. You better file under crossover prog.

Report this review (#1473765)
Posted Thursday, October 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, I know the band for years now. When I first got their (second) album "step into my world", I ?only" was primary surprised about the variety of styles and instruments. Concept album "The ? Book" back in 2011 earned perfect scores ? so I bought the album and I remember when I was sitting in front of my speakers stunned and speechless. Brilliant album. What could be next? So I preordered new album, got it 2 weeks before official release. To be honest, I needed these additional 2 weeks. Its a worthy successor, but will need some time to be discovered. You should invest this time! Then you will see: the band is grown up, but still seems to burst out of constructiveness and creativity, always with a wink and full of ideas and musicality. Just have a look to the longest track "ordinary maniac" of 16 minutes: theres a long acoustic ballad intro, some prog metal influences, brilliant polyrhythmical parts, a heavy rock ending with lots of amazing solos, so many different voices that fit into another... and some melodies you would kill for. I ( not only ) love this track! The production is clear and powerful. Brilliant album, great band!

Report this review (#1479550)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's nice to such an obscure band inhabiting the top 50 list here at PA for a while. Seven Steps are one of contemporary prog foremost eclectisists, juggling multiple vocalists and throwing in anything in between metal to soulful soft rock and even rap. If there is anything missing here, it is probably country, but if you want that in the pot as well, turn to the other project that band leader Marek Arnold is involved in, Flaming Row. This, their fourth, is the most ambitious and at the same time the most difficult to digest album. Songs, or, rather, suite-compositions, average 9 minutes in length, hopping between styles and moods seemingly at will, and not always entirely coherently. At full 78 minutes, some trimming could be in order. although fans of the band won't be disappointed.
Report this review (#1480865)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2015 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars And here we have another example of extraordinary songwriting skills - again involved is Marek Arnold, a real allrounder when it comes to a progressive rock trademark in Germany. That means, whilst also being a cross-genre musician and studio engineer, he definitely has more than one horse in the race overall. And this with great success, just taking the last Toxic Smile album '7' into account, which appeared like a bombshell in 2013. The albums he participates are stylistically hard to pigeonhole in general, and this new SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR production does not make an exception from the rule.

While continuing to take a look at the comprehensive line up, not having heard one bit, it seems to be quite obvious that vocals are playing an exceptional role. This maybe akin to another german outfit called Frequency Drift due to a rather musical thrilled vocal style. Just sticking to the other main collaborators furthermore, drummer Ulf Reinhardt is part of the show once more, where Martin Schnella seems to be new when serving the basic electric guitar work. Amongst many others Arno Menses, Steve Unruh and Daniel Mash are guesting, other wellknown contributors to the prog realm.

The short opener Possible Delayed is meant to be ... eh, what? Okay, let's say the album's vocal prototype, or warm-up maybe, but if you will listen right on 'til the end - I bet you will, sooner or later - then a deja vu is coming up attached to the epic Ordinary Maniac, which can be crowned as the album's culmination point with good reason. Porn! is an example gracefully pointing to an eclectic flavour, quite irresistible, trickiness is the name of the game. This without running into something overloaded or overplayed, as there are also a lot of accessible and highly melodic moments to find on this album.

Still Searching is quite a good example for that, although - attention - also provided with a puzzling vocal acrobatic intermezzo. Well, some few are slipping into german accent here (with intent???). And I'm inclined to hear greetings to Freddy Mercury in between. 'Fetish' is a definitely unique production, a rich source for progressive art rock fans. Additionally the cover art perfectly mirrors the inspiration behind the concept. Although I'm actually more fond of Marek's Toxic Smile involvement this is a very prolific workout - a contender for a TOP 2015 list.

Report this review (#1486582)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2015 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Seven Steps to the Green Door is a collection of very nice collection of diverse modern Neo Prog with very theatric overtones. This young German outfit of seven members wants to entertain you with their style, their storytelling, their musicianship. And they do pretty well here, but, they have a little maturing to do--a little refinement and skill-building to do. But they have a wonderfully creative spirit being expressed through their music--not unlike the Bender family band, INTROITUS. I also find myself feeling a kind of THIEVES' KITCHEN familiarity during several parts of several songs. Female lead singer, Anne TRAUTMANN, has a bit of the Amy DARBY feel while also quite a striking similarity to 80s pop jazz singer, BASIA. Still, some of the band's passages are a bit too imitative of past masters, which makes me a bit afraid for the direction they could travel in the future--a la American band Glass Hammer.

Favorite songs: 1. "Possible Delayed" (0:38) (9/10); 2. "Porn" (8:50) (9/10); the FREQUENCY DRIFT- and THIEVES' KITCHEN-like 7. "Last Lullaby" (9:01) (9/10) and "Ordinary Maniac" (16:10) (8/10), and; 6. "Bound in Chains" (8:53) (8/10).

3.5 stars rated up for mature compositional style.

Report this review (#1497466)
Posted Monday, December 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. When I first heard about this band I just assumed they were a Psychedelic band with a name like SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR. Well I was way off as this young German band play more of an Eclectic brand of Prog. Man this album is getting rave reviews all over the place and I can certainly understand why as this is so well done and very proggy too. We get male and female vocals and these guys really delve into GENTLE GIANT territory with the vocal arrangements and harmonies which are really impressive. They can be quite heavy too which is contrasted quite well with the more laid back passages.

"Possible Delayed" is a short intro track of less than a minute of male and female vocals. "PORN!" certainly impresses with the intricate sounds that seem to counter each other. Male vocals around 1 1/2 minutes in until they are replaced by female vocals. A calm 4 minutes in but when it kicks back in we get a lot of intricate sounds again including sax this time. This really sounds good when it settles down with male vocals. Sax follows. Great track! "Still Searching" opens with vocals and backing vocals before the instruments join in, and it's the piano and drums standing out here as the vocals continue. Nice guitar solo when the vocals stop. Sounds like mellotron too followed by a GENTLE GIANT-like vocal arrangement. Piano only 5 1/2 minutes in as the sound continues to change.

"Inferior" opens with more excellent vocals and instrumental work. It settles down before 1 1/2 minutes and I like the mellotron that seems to sweep over top before 3 minutes. A piano solo follows and an almost circus-like melody. It then settles as themes are repeated. "Imprisoned" is melancholic not so surprisingly considering the title. Piano to start as sad female vocals join in. Some nasty organ follows then a full sound with passionate male vocals. Female and male vocals trade off then it turns instrumental before 6 minutes. This is good with that nasty organ returning and check out the guitar that follows with drums and piano. Great sound once again. It calms right down late with female vocals to end it. "Bound In Chains" is relatively restrained both vocally and instrumentally for the first 3 minutes. I'm not into the sound when it becomes more passionate but that lasts only about 1 1/2 minutes. The last part features male vocals.

"Last Lullaby" is also fairly laid back overall with male and female vocals. The drums and piano standout. It does pick up after 4 minutes then it turns quiet before minor riffs arrive. Flute too around 6 minutes. I like the instrumental sound a minute later. "Set In Motion" opens with piano, percussion and spoken words as sax and laughter arrive and take over. Then there's a somewhat jazzy section that soon turns powerful then male vocals join in. It settles with sax and female vocals as contrasts continue. "Ordinary Maniac" is the over 16 minute closer. Female vocals and a pastoral sound to start before it turns heavy 2 1/2 minutes in. Male and female vocals now then it settles before 5 minutes with percussion as the vocals stop. They are back and check out the fast paced vocals that follow and then the harmonies. It turns heavy before 13 minutes. Oh, there's also a violin solo by guest Steve Unruh on this track.

Apparently I'm in the minority with the less than 4 star rating but I just can't pull the trigger on 4 stars. This just is not an album I look forward to playing despite how well it's done. And at over 78 minutes this is too long.

Report this review (#1508634)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars A highly ambitious album by a band of great instrumentalists that unfortunately as a whole fails: too many styles, too many changes in time signatures and keys and way too long, in my opinion. There are a number of great parts and passages on this album and a few tracks are ok but overall this album feels very disjointed and lacks something I can not really put my finger on. Which is a pity since this band is capable of delivering much more. Their previous album (The ? Book) worked for me in terms of a well-integrated concept where nothing felt out of place and which had a convincing deep emotional atmosphere. This clearly lacks here.

I gave this album many spins, hoping it would grow on me as it has so many good reviews,came with a high recommendation from a friend and I just love their previous album. The urge to fast forward or skip tracks was ever present while listening to it. Like another reviewer says: "an album one does not look forward to listen to". To make things worse, I find the cover very off putting and the "secret packaging" did not add to improve things.

Report this review (#1557020)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2016 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A very capable neo-prog release which sort of reminds me of the sound that Thieves Kitchen may have evolved into had they taken a different path before the Water Road. Seven Steps to the Green Door certainly have an unusual lineup for a prog band, with two dedicated vocalists in the form of Lars Köhler and Anne Trautmann, but that's because they have a really keen sense of the use of the voice as a musical instrument in its own right, and through working complex vocal harmonies into their work and aptly choosing when to use which vocalists accomplish possibilities which are of substantial benefit to their compositions.
Report this review (#1600703)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars The fourth album from SSTTGD didn't come out until 2015, and by now there had been some changes in the line-up. Andreas had left to be replaced by Martin Schnella, who on the album was providing both guitar and bassist, with Heiko Rehm now only forming part of the live band. This is another concept album, which is about the features of the human psyche with all of its relation to lust, addiction and consuming of media. Marek also wrote some lyrics with Guy Manning (who undertakes the same role with Cyril, one of Marek's bands), while Melanie Mau is one of the eight additional singers. Melanie records with Martin outside of SSTTGD, and two of the song lyrics were written by Melanie, Marek and Martin. Ulf and Marek wrote all the music, apart from three songs where Martin is listed as a co-writer so he was already have a major impact on the band. It is also the first album where Ronny Gruber wasn't involved at all, but there are certainly enough singers!

Of the four albums so far, to my ears this is the strongest as they have stretched the diversity, yet somehow made everything commercially accessible and enjoyable while never compromising any musical ideals. There are times when there are multiple vocal harmonies, yet Marek is still the person holding it all together with his beautiful piano. Martin has easily stepped into the role vacated by Andreas, and although his soloing in particular is quite different, it feels measured and totally in keeping with everything that is going on musically. There is a confidence and feeling of assuredness that was somewhat missing from the previous album, and the feeling that here is a band that just can't do any wrong. The layered vocals on songs such as "Still Searching" are immaculate, with wonderful choral elements, and the diversity throughout this album makes it a crossover (in its very truest sense) progressive rock album that is truly essential.

Report this review (#1913064)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2018 | Review Permalink

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