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SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Seven Steps To The Green Door picture
Seven Steps To The Green Door biography
Founded in Sachsen, Germany in 2004

SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR was formed by keyboardist and saxophonist Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile, UPF, Flaming Row, Cyril) and drummer Ulf Reinhardt. They released their debut album "The Puzzle" in 2006, a production that saw them awarded the 1st prize in two different categories at the German Rock and Pop Awards.

Their second album "Step in 2 My World" was released in 2008, a production where the band explored more in depth the use of poly-rhythmic sounds, complex vocal harmonies and jazz-oriented instrument details in their compositions, but also an album with room for compelling compositions with more of a ballad-oriented expression. Three years later their third CD "The?Book" appeared, a concept album that again was met with critical acclaim. The band also released an interactive game based on the album's theme for the iOS operating system.

Their most recent production, "Fetish", was released in 2015, with contributions from guest artists such as Arno Menses (Subsignal) and Steve Unruh (Resistor, UPF).


Current band members:
- Marek Arnold / piano, organ, keyboards, saxophones, flute
- Ulf Reinhardt / drums, voice
- Martin Schnella / bass, guitars, vocals
- Lars Köhler / vocals
- Anne Trautmann / vocals
- Heiko Rehm / bass (live performances)

Former Band Members:
- Andreas Gemeinhardt / guitars (2005-2011)
- Ronny Gruber / vocals (2006-2011)

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SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR discography


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SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 35 ratings
The Puzzle
2006
3.96 | 83 ratings
Step In 2 My World
2008
3.88 | 86 ratings
The ? Book
2011
3.97 | 254 ratings
Fetish
2015
3.87 | 57 ratings
The ? Lie
2019

SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The ? Lie by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.87 | 57 ratings

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The ? Lie
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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.

 The ? Lie by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.87 | 57 ratings

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The ? Lie
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & 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.

 The ? Lie by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.87 | 57 ratings

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The ? Lie
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

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"
 Fetish by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 254 ratings

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Fetish
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by 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.

 The ?  Book by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.88 | 86 ratings

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The ? Book
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator 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.

 Step In 2 My World by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.96 | 83 ratings

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Step In 2 My World
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Two years after the debut and the band were back with their second album. It was the same line-up as before, but with three guests in Michael Brödel (vocals), Jens Vieweg (oboe) and Jörg Baudach (trumpet).This is very much a direct follow on from the debut, with the band keeping to the same basic tenets of that, but adding even more diversity. The vocals on all songs are great, melodic and full of emotion, but the double-tracking on "Stay Beside" is glorious. For the delicate music to suddenly give way to a shredding solo is quite surprising, as is the way that it soon returns to what had gone before. Marek is of course keeping all together on piano, but there are so many layers in this that it takes a while for the listener to realise that the drums are conspicuous by their absence for large sections.

This is one of the things that make SSTTGD such a joy to listen to, they feel no need to be constrained by either musical style or form, so if they want to bring in many different style and mix them all in a melodic progressive crossover melting pot then they will. If they also want to have sections where musicians aren't involved and are off in a corner of the studio having a cup of coffee then that is all good as well. That particular song features delicate female vocals, as well as female and male harmonies, and of course what sounds like someone using a megaphone to get their point across for a few lines as well. Marek moves between his beloved piano and synths, and on the title cut the band start as if they have been influenced more by Meshuggah than IQ and are out to make a point. It is rough, raw and harsh, but still always contains that sense of melody that is throughout all they do. Yet another great album from a band that have never really gained the kudos outside their own country that they deserve.

 The Puzzle by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.92 | 35 ratings

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The Puzzle
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars SSTTGD were formed in 2004 by keyboard player and saxophonist Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile, UPF, Flaming Row, Cyril) and drummer Ulf Reinhardt. With Andreas Gemeinhardt on guitars, Heiko Rehm on bass and three singers (Lars K'hler, Ronny Gruber and Anne Trautmann), they released this their debut album in 2006. It won some major awards in their home country of Germany and it isn't hard to see why, as this is progressive in its very truest sense, mixing and melding different styles to become progressive, metallic, melodic, hard rock and pop, often all in the same song. It is incredibly hard to pick out what makes this such a great album, whether it is the vocals, the melding and blending of styles, the shredding, or indeed total lack of guitar and drums at all at time, but eventually I think I managed to pin it down to just one instrument, the piano.

The piano is at the very heart of what is happening, and there are times when Marek is playing against riffed guitars, something that is incredibly unusual, as when a keyboard player is involved like that he is generally using a synth. There are quite a few sections where Marek is holding his own, either with or without a singer also being involved, and then the band may move seamlessly into something that has a great deal of attack with Andreas showing that he is a fine guitarist while Marek moves into some different sounds. With male and female vocals, and the band throwing so many styles into the melting point, from late Seventies rock that sounds as if disco is coming back into fashion to metallic riffs: I am sure I even heard a didgeridoo at one point. Highly accessible, hugely enjoyable, this is a fun album that makes me smile each and every time I play it.

 Fetish by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 254 ratings

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Fetish
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by 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.
 Fetish by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 254 ratings

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Fetish
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by King Manuel

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.

 Fetish by SEVEN STEPS TO THE GREEN DOOR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 254 ratings

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Fetish
Seven Steps To The Green Door Neo-Prog

Review by 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.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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