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Greetings! My name is Matthew, and I love to listen to all types of metal. I'm a high school English teacher and aspiring writer. I also write reviews for the Metal Utopia webzine!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

7 Horns 7 Eyes - "Throes of Absolution" Review

7 Horns 7 Eyes - Throes of Absolution
Century Media Records
Genre:  Melodic death metal

Band's Facebook

Personnel :
Kyle Wood (vocals)
Aaron Smith (guitar, vocals)
Sean Alf (guitar)
Brandon Smith (bass)
Ryan Wood (drums)

1. Divine Amnesty (6:34)
2. Phumis: The Falsehood of Affliction (4:46) 
3. The Hill Difficulty (5:14)
4. Cycle of Self (6:05)
5. Delusions (5:30)
6. A Finite Grasp of Infinite Disillusion (5:45)
7. Vindicator (6:28)
8. The Winnowing (5:36)
9. Regeneration (6:42)
Total - 52:40

7 Horn 7 Eyes has been lurking on the edge of the metal world's perception for a good number of years.  They have released a pair of EPs that show a range of influences from hardcore to death metal.  Along the way 7 Horns 7 Eyes had a few lineup changes.  Throes of Absolution is a collaborative effort that has been a long time in the making.  Many fans have been looking forward to this album, and now it's here.  The Christian emphasis in the lyrics shows that the band has passion and belief.  So what separates this band from a slew of others that have come to dominate the stage, and hopefully leave a legacy?  For one, Throes of Absolution is a remarkable journey, clocking in at just under an hour.  It's filled with pockets of melodic ecstasy and shivering chords of promise.  Riffs pile on top of one another like a slew of hissing serpents, their elongated heads snapping at the air with abandon.  Kyle Wood growls his way through the record with a gurgling yet somewhat monotone roar that never lets up in intensity and strength.  Throes of Absolution is truly a behemoth - yet as the glittering dragon drags his bulk through the mire, he rears up and reveals his soft underbelly, the area of stagnancy and vulnerability. 
Throes of Absolution is a good record; but is it a great record?  It opens on a strong foundation and ends with a reverberating note, but the band seems to lose track of what seemed to be their originality somewhere along the way.  Song structures are ultimately similar and somewhat overbearing in length, lending a tediousness to the record that might have been avoided.  Listening multiple times to the songs, I couldn't help but feel on the verge of elucidation:  the band is so close, but there's something missing.  In a few places, 7 Horns 7 Eyes falls into the treacherous slope of mediocrity.  These sections were heavy but uninteresting.  While the instrumental prowess of the band was certainly not lacking, they sometimes failed to bring this together in a shared vignette that is critical for the birth of a masterpiece.

Throes of Absolution begins with Divine Amnesty, a rousing opener that showcases both the brutality of the band and a few gorgeous melodic interludes.  However, the next two tracks dribble into generic death metal pieces that will have the listener snoozing.  The Hill Difficulty is a difficult climb indeed; were it not for a precise guitar solo, the song would verge on the edge of generic.  Cycle of Self once again sets the pace for the record.  The chord arrangement at the end of the song is phenomenal.  The next highlight comes in the form of Vindicator, which once again has the band interspersing a few melodic passages in the midst of their brutality.  The guitar melody reminds me of Benea Reach (that's a good thing).  The album closer is a phenomenal instrumental that leaves the listener on a fairly satisfied note.
Overall, Throes of Absolution is a fairly solid album that will interest any fan of death metal.  There's nothing here that's controversial or mind-bending.  The band performs well but misses the goal by just a few inches.  Brief glimpses of a shimmering visage of melodic lushness appear beneath hammering drums, churning guitars, and gurgling vocals.  The record deserves more than just a casual listen.  7 Horn 7 Eyes is a band that you would do well to keep your eye on.

Overall rating:  7.2 out of 10.0 (Excellent)

Musicianship:  8.0 out of 10.0
Song structure:  6.5 out of 10.0
Album structure:  7.0 out of 10.0


How did I come up with my rating?  I rate the following categories:  musicianship, song structure, and album structure.  I then take an average of these three scores and come up with an overall rating.

1.0-2.9 (Poor:  musicianship is poor, song structures are haphazard, no directional flow)
3.0-4.9 (Good:  musicianship is sloppy, song structures are undeveloped, flow is hampered)
5.0-6.9 (Average:  musicianship is adequate, song structures are good, flow works most of the time)
7.0-8.9 (Excellent:  musicianship is very good, song structures are thought out, songs connect well)
9.0-9.9 (Superior:  musicianship is superb, song structures are varied, flow is almost flawless)

Note:  Ratings may be given in increments of 0.1 for a final score (rounded up) and 0.5 for individual category scores.  I will never give a rating of 10.0 because I do not believe that any one album can be "perfect," and the ratings at either end of the spectrum will be very few.

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  1. Right on. Totally agreed. It was missing something. I guess to me, it had a little "too much" atmosphere and not enough to complement that. The Hill Difficulty was a difficult climb indeed. It seemed like most of the album was a difficult climb, haha.
    Great band, though. Their self-titled EP will always have me going back.

  2. I've only heard Divine Amnesty, but I definitely want to hear the rest of the album. Great review!