Seven Kingdoms came out of nowhere in 2012 and caught nuclear laser lightning in a bottle on the unheralded The Fire is Mine, blowing me away with their righteously irresistible take on classic Euro-power (the Game of Thrones concept didn’t hurt either). That album is one of the best pure power metal platters in recent memory and one I still go back to with alarming frequency. It’s been an uncomfortably long wait for a follow-up, but now they’re finally back with Decennium and my expectations could scarcely be higher. Alas, with great expectations comes the risk of great disappointment, and my fear was they couldn’t possibly top the bombastic glory of their last album. Turns out they couldn’t, but Seven Kingdoms still deliver another collection of soaring power metal anthems hand crafted to rouse the spirit and raise the fist of triumph. That’s better than a poke in the eye from a White Walker any day.

Opener “Stargazer” immediately quelled my nervous anticipation with a real ballbuster of a power metal anthem calling to mind the very best of Stratovarius, Helloween and vintage Battle Beast. It’s instantly catchy and if there’s even a trace of metal in your heart you’ll be singing along in no time. Sabrina Valentine’s soaring vocals are once again paired with ripping riffs and tasteful yet aggressive solo-work and the emphasis on hooks is as strong as before. This is the kind of music I was hoping for and for the next 5 tracks, that’s exactly what Seven Kingdoms lustily dishes out.

Follow-up cuts like “Undying” deliver the same high-level power metal heard on The Fire is Mine replete with aggressive, virtuoso guitar-work and excellent vocal harmonies. “In the Walls” may be one of their finest compositions yet, managing to be surprisingly heavy but still so damn catchy you’ll have to scrap it off you with Nair® and a straight razor. Sabrina kills it with her vocal placement and powerful pipes and the whole song just smokes. The hits keep coming with little gems like “Castles in the Snow” and “Dragonslayer,” giving you a valuable lesson in how modern power metal should be done.

And if Decennium was merely 6 tracks instead of 10, we’d be talking Album o’ the Year material. Unfortunately, things take a noticeable dip in quality on the album’s back-end, and while no song is bad, a few sound pedestrian compared to the impressive cuts grouped on the album’s first half. Songs like “The Faceless Hero” and “Neverending” feel like they should stick harder than they do and though not exactly filler, they can’t measure up to the standout material. In an odd sequencing choice, the 4 weakest tracks run together to close the album out, which lessens the overall impact rather significantly. Considering things run 52-plus minutes, cutting two of these lesser songs and going with a shorter, stronger product would seem a no-brainer, but apparently the record business operates with a different set of priorities.

As with the last album, the music is based around the able vocals of Sabrina. She has a powerful voice and though she uses a very clean, almost-non-metal style similar to Sabine Edelsbacher of Eddenbridge and even Amy Lee of Evanescence, it definitely works and she carries the material surprisingly well despite a total absence of grit or rawness. This is because the heaviness and aggression are supplied by guitarists Kevin Byrd and Camden Cruz who spew out a collection of thrashy, in-your-face riffs akin to Iced Earth, while their wild solo work has more in common with Bay Area thrash than Euro-power puffery. They’re very talented players and I like their approach to a style that too often feels neutered, kid-friendly and devoid of sharp edges. The drumming courtesy of Keith Byrd is another plus, sounding full, powerful and in-your-face without being too dominant or overloud.

Though a disappointing step down from their last album, Decennium offers some super-slick, high-caliber power metal sure to please fans of the style and when the band is in high feather, they’re almost untouchable. There may never be another The Fire is Mine, but Seven Kingdoms is still one of the best at this style and others could learn a lot from what they do. Check this out, and definitely track down their last album and make the fire yours.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Nightmare Records
Websites: facebook.com/sevenkingdomsofficial
Releases Worldwide: January 30th, 2017

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  • Eldritch Elitist

    Uh oh, looks like their cover artist bought into the No Man’s Sky hype.

    • Diego Molero

      Have you play it? I read it doesn’t live up to the expectations.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        I actually put quite a bit of time into it when it first came out, but the gameplay loop gets stale quickly and most of the planets suck. And I completely dropped it when I learned what happens when you get to the center of the universe. Completely not worth my time.

      • Reese Burns

        It was really underwhelming. After the first hour or so, you notice a lot of the “randomly generated” flora and fauna begin to repeat themselves. You’ll notice a lot of the same animal heads on different bodies and vice-versa, and lots of the same landscapes in different colours. It’s a ‘big’ game, just not one with a lot of content, if that makes sense.

        • Excentric_13073

          It is getting better, slowly. More content and such. I’m holding out for more stuff, myself, and there’s promising signs for that.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        I got it on release day and sold it 3 days later. Massive disappointment.

    • Meriyas

      This was my exact first thought when I saw the cover.
      Unfortunately I bought into the hype quite a bit too, it still has a lot of potential if Hello Games manages to release the rest of the game eventually.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    That band picture is sitting snugly in the uncanny valley…

    That sample is giving me flashbacks to portuguese pop (pimba) with a metal backing track… I shall avoid this like the plague.

    • ricLP81

      Foda-se, que imagem mental…. Make it go away

    • Reese Burns

      I’m not big on power metal on the best of days, but I could never see myself getting into this.

    • Feytalist

      The chick in the band picture looks like she is doing the classic female superhero on a comic book cover pose.

    • RuySan

      The singer has really the Pimba pose and style spot-on. Don’t see any Pimba on the music, even thought Metal/Pimba crossover seems an enticing proposition.

  • WhamBamSam

    I liked their self-titled record better than I did The Fire is Mine, and not just because the latter spoiled the Red Wedding for me. There was a bit more thrash meat on the bones and the vocal melodies and occasional backing growls stood out more from the Euro-Power norm. Still, TFiM was good, and it seems like Decennium is as well. I’ll have to pick this up.

  • BaboonKing

    The Fire is Mine was a pleasant surprise, I’ll be checking this one out. By the way Druhm, if you are hungry for more quality female fronted power-prog with amazing guitars, check out MindMaze, I’m sure they’ll be right up your alley.

    • I’ll do that!

    • +1 for MindMaze. I’d also recommend A Sound of Thunder, though they are more rooted in trad heavy with touches of powerprog.

      • Triosphere is also quite good.

        • BaboonKing

          Triosphere rocks! Hopefully their new album will come out this year (they sort of said so in their Facebook page, but of course, that’s no guarantee).

          Another great power metal band with a female singer is Helion Prime, which had a killer debut that you guys sadly didn’t review (damn me if that cover art wasn’t AOTM worthy – just Google it and see for yourselves :).

          And finally, although not strictly power metal, Trail of Murder have been touring with a female singer since Urban Breed left. No word yet if she’s going to stay for their next release…

          • It really bums me out that Breed left Trail of Murder. That debut was so damn good.

          • madhare

            Thank you for this thread! All of these were unknown to me before. Now trying them out. Right now playing Hellion Prime – sounds like good no-strings-attached fun!

    • Levly

      Man I checked MindMaze and you were right, this band is awesome and the singer has a great voice, very similar to Sabrina. Back From The Edge rules! Thank you for the recommendation :).

      • Bloated Goat

        Check out Divine Ascension.

    • TheBrick

      I’m going to throw my hat into the ring and recommend Chastain. Leather Leone is one of the most metal singers that there is. David T. Chastain is a damn skilled guitarist as well, with the rare ability to show off only when the music calls for it. Gothic in musical tone, they’re a sweet group with many a tune that will rock your socks off. Their last two albums since their reunion have been absolutely killer.
      Another trad metal group would be Benedicum. Slightly heavier in guitar sound, they have a singer that sings with the collective ballsacks of a thousand ZP Thearts. She almost sounds like a female Dio. Unfortunately, their last album, Obey, was very forgettable, but their previous three were stellar efforts to recapture the classic metal sound.

      • BaboonKing

        At the time I wasn’t too impressed by the Benedictum debut, I’ll see about giving them a second chance. And somehow I’ve managed to live so far without knowing about Chastain. From what I’m hearing so far, this is a serious mistake that I shall correct ASAP. Thank you for your recommendations!

        • TheBrick

          The title track of 7th of Never plus that of Ruler of the Wasteland are good songs to try to get into them, hint hint

  • ArtifeX

    I have a lot of problems with female fronted Power Metal bands. I think White Skull is the only band that I like, oh and Sinergy, but mostly for Alexi Laiho’s solos. My loss… :(

    Also, it worries me that most new PM bands are female fronted, it’s like the school of great (clean) (male) vocalists in Metal is getting to an end.

    • Slayerformayor

      No it isn’t. Sooooooo obnoxious that statement. Power Metal fronted by women obviously means that there’s less power metal fronted by men. I mean…pfff…obvious. Also, relegating clean male vocalists to power metal is pretty silly as well. Just…so many things wrong with your comment.

  • GardensTale

    This sounds pretty good, I think I’ll check out the previous album first though, based on your recommendation.

  • Diego Molero

    Just what I thought before and after the embedded track: I still hate power metal.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    No metal band should ever name a song “Stargazer”. There’s already one Stargazer and no one is ever going to top that one.

  • R.Daneel Olivaw

    female vocals?????????thanx but no thanx!!!!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I had listened to the song “Neverending” before and I really like it. I think it’s better than the track embedded here, which is not bad, but I find “Neverending” to be better.
    Opinions…

  • Iain Gleasure

    Is Battle Beast old enough for anything they do to be “vintage”?

    • Read as: their debut album.

      • Iain Gleasure

        Feels bad. I remember when I discovered them on my own and though: this is really good! And it’s never been consistent since..

  • I only really like their self-titled CD (My 3rd favorite album of 2010, actually). For some reason I didn’t really like The Fire Is Mine nearly as much. The embeded track is quite nice; I’m guessing I’ll like this album.

  • Jason

    I don’t hate this.

  • Dead1

    I am learning valuable lessons.
    Lesson 1: Steel Druhm gives anything that apes 1980s Helloween tropes a 3.5 at least – clearly all power metal is good power metal no matter how clichéd and tired it is.
    Lesson 2: Don’t read Steel Druhm reviews, especially if they involve power metal..

    • Don’t let the door hit you as you leave the hall.

    • BaboonKing

      Hmm… sounds like you may need to stay after class to receive some private lessons from professor Druhm.

  • Levly

    Omg, I didn’t know they had a new record coming, what a good surprise :). I share your enthusiasm for The Fire Is Mine and I really like the embedded tracks so can’t wait to hear the whole thing!

  • Meriyas

    This isn’t bad for power metal actually. It’s not doing enough for me to check it out, but I was able to listen to the entire embedded track without puking.
    On another note, that lyric video is one of the better examples of how to do a lyric video in my opinion. It’s only occasionally hard to read the lyrics.

  • Patrick W. Dunne

    >Eddenbridge

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Sample song is garbage (IMO, obviously). Sounds contrived and uninspired. 3.5???? Rest of the album must be up there with Dark Side of the Moon…

  • BaboonKing

    Every single time this site reviews a power metal album the minions of the Trve Brvtal Metal Inquisition come out of their lairs to remind the rest of us this whole genre is garbage / puke worthy / sugar coated musical syphillis (just look around for some prime examples). We get it, you don’t like it. That’s totally fine: opinions are like assholes, blah blah blah. But if you can’t find it in you to provide valid criticism and foster good discussions, can you just please move on to comment things that you *do* like? If I posted “Just as I thought. Death metal still sucks.” on a Vader review, you would think I was being silly / snobbish / ignorant or worse, wouldn’t you?

    • It does get tiresome.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      I hear ya, but, not you something anyone’s gonna be able to change. I love power metal, even though this particular band didn’t do much for me…

    • [not a Dr]

      I agree with everything you wrote there, except the closing tag that doesn’t have an opening tag to match. It makes my brain’s embedded parser throw syntax warnings.

    • Dead1

      Except some of my favourite albums are power metal: Demons and Wizards self titled, Blind Guardian’s Nightfall In Middle Earth, Angel Dusts’ Of Human Bondage, Tad Morose’s Modus Vivendi, several Helloween albums, Gamma Ray’s Majestic and most things Iced Earth (even though they stray closer to thrash at time).
      So I like power metal and I listen to more of it than I do grindcore or brutal death by a far margin.
      But third rate over polished Helloween clones don’t cut it for me. Neither do third rate Suffocation clones or Exodus clones or whatever.
      Rehashing old stuff and applying a modern production to it does not constitute a good metal album.
      It’s fine to stay within confines of the genre but for heaven’s sake mix up it up in terms of song writing or vibe. Indeed Destroyer 666 and Enforcer’s latest albums show how to write great music whilst playing old established genre (speed metal at that).

      • BaboonKing

        I haven’t heard Decennium yet (beyond the embedded track), so I can’t really comment on its merits. But The Fire is Mine was most definitely *not* a Helloween rehash.

        Regardless, this is beside the point, and my comment wasn’t specifically directed at you. I wanted to address the blanket statements and flat out insults that many throw against a whole genre in a regular basis.

        Your original post is questionable for other reasons, though. This second comment makes it obvious that you can get your point across without being rude and demeaning towards the reviewer. Why didn’t you start with this?

        • Dead1

          Because my point was directed at the reviewer who I think doesn’t have the same critical level as rest of AMG staff and who tends to give any old derivative tripe a 3.5.

          I am sure he is a nice guy and I wish him all the best.

          • I think your comment style needs an overhaul.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    I do have to say that I love this album cover. Power metal is no stranger to fantasy themes, but 99 times out of 100, it’s medieval. Nice to see fantasy in the opposite direction.

  • Serjien

    I have been a big fan of power metal for quite some time, but there is something with female vocals that just doesn’t do it for me. I really liked the instrumental though.

  • Paul VH

    I really enjoyed The Fire Is Mine.
    Not that it breaks any real ground but it just has a conciseness and accessibility to it lacking in many power metal releases.
    I’ll be checking out the new one for sure.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Now, that’s an album cover!

  • Eryops

    This was a band that I always meant to look up to see if they were still together. I first saw (and heard) them opening for Blind Guardian a few years back and have loved them ever since. I’ll be glad to pick up a new release from them.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    The magic of Photoshop! I just saw Seven Kingdoms last week and they didn’t look much like the photo. Also they were the worst of the four bands I saw. One of my friends fell asleep during their set, which will be a running joke amongst us for years.

  • rickimatsu

    I’m such a fan of this band. I found them randomly on a Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify and have been hooked ever sense. Dig their music, vibe, and cover art.