Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Seven Impale

Eclectic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Seven Impale City of the Sun album cover
4.13 | 336 ratings | 13 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Oh, My Gravity! (10:08)
2. Windshears (6:44)
3. Eschaton Horo (8:46)
4. Extraction (6:48)
5. God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman (14:41)

Total Time 47:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Stian Økland / vocals, guitar
- Erlend Vottvik Olsen / guitar
- Håkon Vinje / keyboards
- Benjamin Mekki Widerøe / saxophone
- Tormod Fosso / bass, cello
- Fredrik Mekki Widerøe / drums

- Iver Sandøy / performer, producer, mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Erik Hølleland painting

LP Karisma Records ‎- KAR083LP (2014, Europe)

CD Karisma Records ‎- KAR083 (2014, Europe)

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy SEVEN IMPALE City of the Sun Music

SEVEN IMPALE City of the Sun ratings distribution

(336 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SEVEN IMPALE City of the Sun reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An impressive album of refreshingly unique music that crosses many sub genres, including space-psychedelia, symphonic, heavy prog, avant-jazz and experimental/post metal. Wonderful vocals, very tight interplay among all band members with no one member or instrument really standing above any other--though the presence and performance of the saxophone is highly notable. This is complex music played so tightly. And the astonishing 14- minute epic, "God Left Us for A Black Dressed Woman," must be heard to be believed.

1. "Oh My Gravity" (9:49) starts as a jazzy stop-and-start piece that picks up in intensity in the second minute before shifting to a melodic ballad in the vein of the heavier side of FROGG CAFÉ. The male vocalist sounds to me like something between RADIOHEAD's THOM YORKE and TODD RUNDGREN. Around the six minute mark the spiraling, swooning music sounds a lot like some of the louder stuff from MOTORPSYCHO's The Death Defying Unicorn. This feel continues into the seventh minute when organ and horns take turns embellishing the staccato music. The bare-bones, bluesy final 45 seconds is bizarre but so cool! A powerful and surprising opener to this unusual album. Very high marks for compositional prowess and instrumental performance. (9/10)

2. "Wind Shears" (6:32) opens in a very psychedelia/spacey 1960s way. Then at the one minute mark it settles into a jazz groove with first sax and then jazzy guitar and Hammond organ filling the lanes over the rhythm section. Clavinet is added for a GentleGiant-like bridge before a polyrhythmic KING CRIMSON "Discipline"-like weave appears to support a brief ghost-like vocal. At 3:20 the sound gets much heavier over the same arpeggiated weave, nearly drowning out the still-soloing sax and organ. This is just like TOBY DRIVER (Kayo Dot/Maudlin of the Well)! At 4:05 things get quiet and sparse again, with the music vacillating from soft and delicate to heavy and abrasive. A very melodic kind of psychedelic big band section plays out for the final minute. Again, bizarre but so cool! (9/10)

3. "Eschaton Hero" (8:29) opens with some guitar, keys & sax riffs repeated over latin percussion. At 1:00 everything settles down into another quiet section with a delicate vocal in Stian Økland's upper register. Beautiful chorus/bridge at 1:47 gives way to an unpretentious bass solo before settling back into the delicate vocal music. Same awesome bridge at 2:49 leads into a heavy section into jazzy chaos--all performed over the most simple, calm drum play. At 4:52 it gets even heavier as it plods along for a minute in support of a fuzz guitar solo. Finally the drums start to play--to match the frenzy of the rest of the band--then everything stops so the band can yell "Yay!" Then a variation on the previous frenzy picks back up until 7:05 when everything settles back down into the soft groove of the initial vocal section for a dirty sax solo before letting Stian finish the song out in his high voice. Well conceived and performed, just not my favorite. (7/10)

4. "Extraction" (6:34) begins with another odd intro of two or three parts before settling into the vocal support section--which begins heavily before falling into another RADIOHEAD-like bluesy section. At 2:20 a neat Hammond section leads back into the heavy full band section that opened the vocals, then, again, drops off for the beautiful support of a multi-voice- supported section. At 3:45 a very smooth, stripped down electric guitar solos, until there is a full return to explosiveness at 4:20. A bouncy "O Yo Como Va"-like Hammond section at 4:40 gives way to a kind of Latin weave before falling back into the heavier rock weave from the first vocal section to end. (8/10)

5. "God Left Us for A Black Dressed Woman" (14:12) opens with another KC "Discipline"-like weave that morphs and flows, polymorphs and grooves for two and a half minutes before decaying into a simplified form for a bluesy ROBERT PLANT-like vocal section. This song's amazing vocal performance could also be compared to some of the finest MATTHEW PARMENTER/DISCIPLINE works. Some incredibly powerful sections in this song--especially the multi-voice vocals in the eleventh minute and the following heavy full-band part. A very DISCIPLINE-like soft section then ensues with a slow build to an awesome crescendo and frizzed finish. The song evolves, shifts, twists and turns and surprises throughout. Again there are several parts that remind me of MOTORPSYCHO's Unicorn. Without question this is one of the best prog "epics" of the year! (10/10)

Aside from the above references to Motorpsycho, King Crimson, Radiohead, Toby Driver, Matthew Parmenter/Discipline, the overall impression this album leaves me with is similar to that of DIAGONAL's eponymously titled debut album from 2008. SEVEN IMPALE's City of the Sun is a wonderful collection of masterfully composed, executed and recorded songs.

A 4.5 star album that I can't see giving anything less than five in that it is a treasure for the ages!

Review by LearsFool
5 stars Seven Impale. One of the best new bands of 2014. They start off in fusion and then travel wheresoever they please, and do so with style and ease. Their whole album is wonderful listening from start to finish, showing off a range of genres and instrumentations. They come across as a proghead's dream, being heavily indebted to several past masters, notably Crimson and the Giant, but with their own modern and unique take on it that leaves one floored and then begging for more. "God Left Us For A Black Dressed Woman" has to be one of the tracks of the year in all music, as we smoothly fly through a beautiful, sax driven piece that makes us not mind that the Almighty has gone out on the town. And the guitars on it - perfect! Easily album of the year, even against "To Be Kind". This needs more love - yours - and you need it.
Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oh.My.Gravity!

A breath of fresh air and total shock. There is still life on planet earth. And there is still great music made by mere mortals but which can awaken emotions. This is the case with this young sextet from Norway that confirms that the Scandinavian scene is constantly on the up and dominating the progressive music of the new century.

What makes this album different from other very good ones is the combination of musical prowess and the apparent appetite to create something new, fresh, dynamic. Seven Impale seem to have 'studied' Peter Hammill and retained the best from his corpus of eclecticism, transferring it and adapting it to their own style. Not much of major chords here, this stuff is dark, heavy and aggressive. Distorted bass lines bring to mind King Crimson but the multiple melodic themes maintain a nice balance with the outright bursts of jazz improvisation and some seldom torrential over-complex avant-garde passages. Take VDGG and Panzerballet, shake them up, spin them round and you get the point.

Seven Impale can get carried away by their young enthusiasm and get off track with their experimentation that my mere-progger mind cannot necessarily capture (Eschaton Horo) but these are short and part of the deal that makes this package so imperfectly perfect. Special mention goes to Benjamin Mekki Widerøe and his delivery on the sax that ranges from smooth jazz to heavy fusion and some of the best passages I have heard played on the saxophone ever (check the last minute of Extraction).

If you are still wondering why 'God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman', pick up 'City of the Sun' and you might understand. This is the best album of 2014.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Seven Impale burst forth on "City of the Sun" with fresh ideas, incredibly complex music and have put the prog scene on high alert such is the impact of this debut album. The band take a blend of early Van der Graaf Generator whipped up with the cream of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and then glazed over with King Crimson eclecticism. When this is put in the kiln, the refining fire of jazz fusion takes on a very odd shape. This is highly original music with a razor edge of some of the more adventurous off kilter compositions you are likely to hear.

The unusual time signatures and sporadic fractured rhythms are jarring to the ear. Yet the dissonance is infectious as it grows on each listen. 5 tracks of unmeasured diversity and a potpourri of instrumentation. This is one of the delights of 2014.

'Oh, My Gravity!' is 10 minutes of off the wall jazz chaos. It jumps out of the blocks with saxophone bliss over intense out of sync percussion. Just as you relax into it's syncopation it diverts into 7/8 rhythms and then launches into a guitar lick that feels like Robert Fripp entered the room. The vocals are an oddity in themselves, feeling estranged and out of tune yet maintaining a jaded harmony despite the dissonance. The VDGG cacophony of sound is heard reminding me of their masterpiece track 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers'. The opening track builds in tension until the sound becomes layered with organ, heavy guitar riffs, and then Crimsonish stop start chops. A sheer delight on every level and a genuine surprise when discovering this album.

'Windshears' opens with quiet guitar plucks but this is a nice break after the previous madness. The jazz feel is prominent with grand saxophone soloing. I was even reminded of Miles, prog jazz albums such as "Bitches Brew". Eventually the atmosphere is dense and augmented by heavy staccato blasts of guitar and sax. It has a feel of classic prog and of course as such is a proggers delight especially those of us who like the more complex off kilter side of music. Diagonal produced an album like this and it became a treasure in my collection instantly.

'Eschaton Horo' continues the shattered rhythms and features some intricate guitar licks and keyboard lines. The vocals sound like Radiohead's Thom Yorker in all respects. Very laid back on a high register. I love how the sax keeps interjecting and those chimes are gorgeous. This is the more beautiful side of Seven Impale. It still blasts into a crunching instrumental section. This is where the band take off and are at their best. The experimental nature of the music is intoxicating. It is always searching for new directions and explores these over tempo switches and audacious rhythmic figures. My dog didn't like it when they screamed out, and then it blazes away on a hypnotic motif till it settles into a haunting sax solo. The vocals return on a one note verse and it ends.

'Extraction' behind with insane guitar cranking over a wall of jazz cacophony. The melody here feels familiar and the vocals are at times aggressively executed. There are Hammond splashes, floating basslines, and a sizzling sax melody. The guitar solo is beautiful with delay and is joined by sax blasts. The music spins out of control until the organ ropes it back in.

'God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman' is a mini epic of 14:41 length and has as many twists and turns as a fairground roller coaster. It opens with guitar picking and a sax simmering over gradually building to a crescendo of keyboard interplay. The vocals remain laid back giving way to the sax solos and weird time sigs. The bass at times reminds me of the distorted bass on VDGG's "Vital". Their is a cool sax solo and some intense percussion. It gets into some bizarre territory with irregular metrical patterns. The metronome swings oddly as sax and guitar compete got domination. Vocals return to mediate between the duelling instruments. At 9 and a half minutes in the sound becomes raspy with staccato outbursts of music then locks into streams of guitar before coming to a tranquil place. The final melody is infectious and hooks into the brain to culminate in one of the most dynamic eclectic tracks I have heard in years.

It is difficult to convey the type of music on offer here but those who have heard the more adventurous side of King Crimson or VDGG should take delight in this album. I rate it as one of the albums of 2014.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Imagine that '21st Century Schizoid Man' is a strip of photographic film. You know film, right? Most progheads should remember film. So imagine this classic song and some of King Crimson's other early heavy stuff is also part of this strip of film and now expose it to 'Nucleus'-era Anekdoten, develop it in The Mars Volta, and wash it with Pinkroom and voila! You have Seven Impale's 'City of the Sun'.

This is an easy album for me to get into because of all the heavy prog passages that crop up in every song. And I actually really love how the saxophone takes the lead throughout most of the album. We get a lot of slower and gentler passages and sections and at times a bit of piano or organ, and then suddenly there will be this total badass heavy prog section with bombastic guitar, saxophone, and one of those prog-a-licious odd rhythm meters. I just soak this stuff up!

I had a hard time placing Stian Okland's voice. It's soft and from the back of the throat like Anekdoten's male vocalist on 'Nucleus' but when it gets a bit gutsy it made me think of the singer on Colosseum's debut album except that that guy can sing from the abdomen. Then the Mars Volta similarity occurred to me, minus the louder screaming aspect. In any case, I think it works.

Only five songs here and one over fourteen minutes long with a total running time of about 46 minutes. That makes this album pretty easy to digest and after the first listen I already had a strongly favourable opinion forming. At this point I can't think of much else to say. It hinges on weird like The Mars Volta and Anekdoten hinge on weird. It also gets heavy like Anekdoten and Pinkroom get heavy. And it has its lighter side as well. Quite simply, if you haven't heard this PA 2014 top 20 pick (number 11) and you like the bands I mentioned above, then I recommend checking this one out. It's not quite five stars for me, more like 4.3. I'm sure there are plenty of members on this site who'd dig it.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Norwegian band SEVEN IMPALE was formed back in 2010, and has released an initial EP and one full-length album to date. "City of the Sun" is the name of the latter, and it was issued through the Norwegian label Karisma Records in the fall of 2014.

Seven Impale has released quite the impressive debut album, a quirky, sophisticated and challenging ride that blends jazz rock, progressive rock and arguably even progressive metal into a cohesive and rather appealing brew. Dreamladen and careful, even frail at times, but also bombastic, aggressive and at times more than a little bit complex. With a strong groove, and always with a good ear for melody as well. Highly recommended, especially to those who prefer their progressive rock to have strong ties with jazz as well as being challenging and demanding on multiple levels.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Norway seems to be churning out the bands these days and SEVEN IMPALE is another new band who have received a lot of adoration by Prog fans world-wide. In fact on PA here their "City Of The Sun" album was voted the third best recording of 2014 which is very impressive. I almost feel like I have to explain why i'm not giving this five stars despite being very impressed with it overall. For me it's the blasting sax. And it's not that it turns me off per se but it just really isn't my thing. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is an example of blasting horns and while I appreciate that track and gave the album 5 stars that song just doesn't resonate with me. And I love horns too but just not the blasting style. Okay I think i've made my point. Just my tastes that's all.

This is a six piece band with two guitarists, one being the vocalist along with bass, drums, keyboards and sax. They are a young band with varied influences who have come up with a beauty here in "City Of The Sun" which is a great title, and I dig the album art as well. They really do the bombast versus mellow sections really well and I have to say the final track "God Left Us For A Black-Dressed Woman" has to be one of the best songs of 2014.

"Oh, My Gravity!" opens with the sax gently honking as other instruments join in gradually. It settles in after a minute then builds in intensity. A change follows as we get a guitar/keyboard section before the vocals, drums and sax return. A calm 4 minutes in as the vocals and a mellow sound take over including organ. It kicks back in and man this is intense. The sax is blasting again then we get some ripping guitar after 6 minutes. A killer instrumental section arrives 7 minutes in and vocals return a minute later. Some great sounding sax before 9 minutes. "Wind Shears" opens with a relaxed sound as reserved vocals join in. I really like this. Sax and a jazzy sound arrive as the vocals step aside. Vocals are back before 3 minutes then they stop as it kicks into gear heavily. Another calm arrives as contrasts continue.

"Eschaton Horo" opens with keyboards that are followed quickly by a full sound. A calm a minute in as fragile vocals join in. Some lazy sax excursions before 2 minutes as it stays mellow. By the 3 minute mark the intensity kicks in as we get outbursts of power. It turns even heavier before 5 minutes and there's some cool sounding guitar here. It all stops as the band yells at 6 minutes then it kicks back in. Another calm from 7 minutes to the end. "Extraction" is fairly bluesy and we get an all out blitz early on with drums, guitar and organ leading the way. It settles back as the sax arrives then these passionate vocals almost shout the lyrics as the music becomes more powerful. It settles back again as the vocals continue but in a more laid back fashion. Themes are repeated.

"God Left Us For A Black-Dressed Woman" is my favourite track and it's almost 15 minutes in length. Picked guitar to start as the sax and liquid keys take over. Drums and more follow. I love the deep sounds before 2 minutes then it starts to pick up. So good. A calm before 2 1/2 minutes as the vocals arrive. Man this is good. Then the tempo and mood begins to shift at will. An experimental section arrives before 7 1/2 minutes then we get outbursts of power until it calms right down with sax and more. Reserved vocals are back. It's heavy again at 9 1/2 minutes before it settles in with vocals. Love the keyboards and guitar. It's so uplifting 13 minutes in then we get a big finish.

A very solid 4 stars and the future certainly is very bright for this young band.

Review by Warthur
4 stars One of the things which distinguishes the original wave of progressive rock bands from the waves of imitators that came later was that, of course, the original proggers didn't have a prog rock background - not as listeners, and not as performers. They couldn't have, obviously - they all had their musical training and developed their tastes in other fields (typically, but not exclusively, rock) and then brought that diverse range of tastes to the table to serve up the original first-wave prog offerings we know and love. Conversely, many subsequent generations grew up on prog and learned to play their instruments with an eye to producing prog, resulting in an inevitable difference in perspective.

Seven Impale are a group who have clearly listened to their share of prog - the extent of the King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Van der Graaf Generator influences evident here demonstrates that - but as musicians they don't come originally from a rock background. Instead, they're a group of musicians who've picked up their training in jazz or classical contexts. The upshot of this is that this is a take on heavy Crimson-esque prog which has a fat slab of jazz fusion incorporated into the recipe, because they have the chops to pull it off, but which never quite descends into aimless meandering because they also have the compositional rigour to avoid that. The end result is an extremely solid debut album.

Review by DangHeck
5 stars Norway's Seven Impale are, to me, the Prog band which always struck me, in instrumentation and darkness, as a modern take on the eclectic moods of Van der Graaf Generator. This is somewhat felt vocally, but mostly via the heaviness aided by the all-important saxophone. Strangely, to me now, if I remember all these years later, initially suggested based on my love of Canterbury Scene.

And right off the bat, City of the Sun is introduced by the hypnotic and memorable "Oh, My Gravity!" Excellent song: great melody, and great compositionally. There are certainly vocal moments here that are our first glimpse into what I'd compare to Peter Hammill (of VdGG). Again, as I noted, throughout the music is defined by modernity. But the often crazed bleat of the sax drives this song deeper and darker. It is in the middle-to-end section where the first glimpse of any (and there's more than I thought) King Crimson influence can be heard, most similar to the iconic sounds of "21st Century Schizoid Man". All for it.

"Gravity" is followed by another favorite of mine, "Windshears", a dark, moody track that calls to mind Lizard/Islands era KC. If there's anything 'Kentish' about this music at all, it is the natural tie of Prog to Jazz. It's much darker, as noted, than most all Canterbury. The end of this song has an excellent instrumental melody; very feeling, almost melancholic.

Madness is immediately followed by moody beauty in "Eschaton Horo" (really rolls off the tongue, eh?). Beauty turns to madness again and back into the main theme, driven by underlying keys and guitar. I really can't believe I'm only hearing all the King Crimson-isms in this music now--the riffs and melodies selected are very familiar in this sort of way. But also, as noted by my girlfriend who is listening for the first time, this evokes Thom Yorke. Interesting to have Fusion, Eclectic Prog and Post-Progressive idioms coming together so naturally. I guess the crazed mallets that can be heard here might remind of the Mothers of Invention; it did us. And I will say now, up until this point in the album, nothing but excellent.

And for the first time ever, in "Extraction", I hear the potential influence of then-still-contemporaries The Mars Volta. Moody, to say the least, and once again, driven by the sax. Would be understated to say that sax is a quintessential element. It is on "Extraction" that I hear the first bit of music, mostly driven by keys alongside the sax, outright reminiscent of Canterbury. This or the very lengthy closer "God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman" are my personal... least favorites? But really, that isn't saying much at all, because there isn't a not-great song on this album to be found. No wasted space. No aimlessness. All purpose. And amidst the proggy excesses of "God Left Us...", we have another very memorable melody. Very very good. If KC, VdGG, Radiohead, Beardfish, Mars Volta and Khan(?) all had a baby? I don't know if there's a way to boil it down like that, so maybe I should stop with my nonsense metaphors.

I really have nothing but praise for this album (I wish their second was as good). A great band creating some great and, to repeat myself, highly memorable progressive music.

Latest members reviews

4 stars "City of the Sun" is the first album in the discography of Seven Impale, a Norwegian eclectic group that has its foundations in jazz. Seven Impale is a strong proof that Norway (and the whole Scandinavian peninsula, in general) has a place on the podium of the century when it comes to eclectic a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2943989) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Friday, August 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Did you ever wonder what an ambitious jazz player drowning himself in progrock might sound like? Seven impale has the answer for you with this album. We are looking at a young formation hailing from Norway, which consists of six men with a background in jazz and classical music, obviously having ... (read more)

Report this review (#1540457) | Posted by Porcupineapple | Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5/5 This was one of those albums that came out of the blue. A recommendation from a friend, he also provided the warning: "give them a chance" -- which can be regarded as either a challenge, or a red flag. And the first time I played the album, I knew exactly what he meant: I spent a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1449907) | Posted by ergaster | Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The best album that came out in prog in 2014. Period. There's too much to like here: the swift changes of rythm, the urgency of the vocals, the sultry sax, the manic moods in the drums. This is so intoxicating It is like having blended VDGG and King Crimson into one. I really hope this guys ... (read more)

Report this review (#1433483) | Posted by steelyhead | Wednesday, July 1, 2015 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of SEVEN IMPALE "City of the Sun"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.