Seven Year Storm - Aion I 01aIt was before a long journey that I haphazardly shoved all my new music on to my iPod, paying no regard to the attached one sheets and band biographies. Having never heard their material before, it was without expectation or even awareness of genre that I approached Seven Year Storm‘s début EP Aion I. Perhaps this should be my new method of promo selection: zero experience, zero genre prejudice, maximum joy when what hits you is brilliant. Sean Lang, the Canadian mastermind behind the project, is noted for his online drum tutorials and eclectic range of associated acts, including melodeath outfit First Reign, art rock and pop cover band A Night of Bowie, and folk cover band Byrd Dawg. With such a diverse range of influences in his percussive repertoire, it shouldn’t shock you that his drumming is at the forefront of this progressive metal EP. Though certainly not overtly metal in its chilled atmosphere and lack of extremity, the supreme instrumentation and delightful compositions enchanted me.

Falling somewhere near to Animals As Leaders or Exivious in its instrumental style, Aion I is a continuation of the recent trend towards ‘pretty’ metal: unrelentingly technical, yet uplifting in tone. It’s very easy to digest, clocking in at a brief 27 minutes, and is counter to what metal used to stand for: danger, adversity, arguably even hostility. This is a very affirming affair, wooing you in with its mellow opening synths and maintaining itself with catchy guitar melodies. “Nazca Lines” has a slick synth bridge, and the temporarily ominous piano at 3:15 juxtaposes the transition into a more hopeful conclusion.

But I mustn’t forget to mention Archspire. That subtle name-drop functions not only to grab our kvlt readers from the brink of oblivion, but is also actually relevant to the review. Did I mention that Lang is good friends with the ludicrously talented Dean Lamb, guitarist from the Canadian tech-death band? Nope? Well he is, and Lamb was persuaded to perform the guitars for Aion I to wonderful effect. Though clearly not so distorted and aggressive as his Archspire material, he brings his technical prowess, groovy leads and shredding potential to Lang’s already-stellar percussive performance. The careful arrangement of off-kilter drumming, suitably heavy rhythms and diverse leads draped over the top are compelling on the highlights, “Nazca Lines” and “Blue Car Syndrome.” The sense of dynamics is strong too, with great transitions and progression in commendably focused and wank-less songs.

Seven Year Storm - Aion I 02

Though not over-long, Aion I could have done with a little more diversity. The tone is consistently pleasant, and I would argue overly safe. The aforementioned moment at which haunting keys are used offers a welcome contrast, but it’s too brief and more could be distributed throughout. Despite sporadic breakdowns and up-tempo riffs, the structure is quite predictable which is a hindrance on supposedly progressive music. Maybe that would have naturally developed in a full-length release, but I can only critique what I’m given!

Despite the fairly uniform structure and atmosphere, Seven Year Storm is a very exciting project. It rewards multiple listens with unfurling complexities in its writing, and the fusion of its highly talented musicians ensures excellent execution. The aural experience is strong, aided by a solid production job. A more diverse emotional outlook would improve a follow-up, and I sincerely hope Lang continues on to an Aion II. The fantastic covert art only sweetens the deal.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self Released
Websites: SevenYearStormOfficial | Facebook.com/SevenYearStorm
Release Dates: Worldwide: 02.24.2015

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  • BarryLeFreak

    Wow, I’m digging the embedded track. That is some pretty sweet drumming

  • I’m enjoying this thing. Nice sound and style.

    • brutal_sushi

      I was just thinking the same thing?!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      And someday a band will be inspired to put a sphere, a goat, a rhino, and a nice sprinkling of umlauts all together on their album cover. I know that day is coming. I can feel it in my bones.

      • basenjibrian

        A rhino bursting through a sphere while chasing a goat at the behest of a skeletal enrobed medieval wizard brandishing an inverted cross!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          That’d work.

          • basenjibrian

            :)
            Plus, such a cover exhibits cross-genre creativity. When you combine ALL of the cliches, you are CREATIVE!

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          I just wanna keep up voting this comment!
          I would only add that the wizard should be of the partially clad demonic/zombie Kardashian order

          • basenjibrian

            It SHALL BE SO!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      And they’re doing things rhinos shouldn’t be doing, like drinking baby garnished bourbon or walking into the sea. 110% behind this becoming a thing. Music is really good too, always nice to see someone who puts up lessons for free doing well at making their own music.

  • Alexandre Barata

    Urgh it has that shiny guitar sound I so hate (like the one found on Dream Theatre songs, well, a bit less shiny than that). Other than that it might be cool, but I can’t unhear that greased up guitar…

    The cover is pretty sweet though!!

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    I don’t know… the Elder Lore cover art is pretty amazing too…

  • Doomdeathrosh

    This sounds pretty awesome…..like Omnium Gatherum without Jukka Pelkonen!

  • Guest

    I think you guys should next review the October Rust album; I mean it seems only fitting after reading this magnificent album’s review…