Seven Spires – Emerald Seas [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Let me cut straight to the chase. Emerald Seas is my favorite metal album of 2020. After a dear friend shared Seven Spires’ new release with me back in February, and I learned soon after that the band would be performing alongside Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum in Seattle in March, I figured it was about time to give the symphonic metal band from Boston, Massachusetts some play time. After being completely spellbound by Emerald Seas, I couldn’t contain my excitement to watch the four Berklee College of Music graduates unleash their magic live on stage. For those of you who purchased concert tickets this year, you know how that dream played out.

The storyline of Emerald Seas is a prequel to their debut album Solveig. The story follows a lone sea captain hunted by an ancient beast and struggling with loneliness and sacrifice on his quest for eternal life. As with any fine wine, Emerald Seas is best enjoyed slowly, allowing for time to savor vocalist and main composer Adrienne Cowan’s grandiose orchestrations and chameleonic vocals as they wash over you. While all thirteen of the album’s tracks are jaw-droppingly memorable on their own, this cohesive masterpiece is designed to be listened to in full in a single sitting. Each transition is meticulously and seamlessly designed with care. Listening to the way in which Adrienne masterfully transmutes her voice from fierce and aggressive power vocals (“Every Crest”) to romantic, weightless croons (“Silvery Moon”) and back to some of the gnarliest, throaty black metal snarls that I’ve heard (“Drowner of Worlds”) leaves me in complete and utter awe every…single…time. Adrienne commands a maturity of musicianship and vocal versatility that defies her young age of twenty-five.

Adrienne’s talent doesn’t stop there. She recently doubled down on focusing on orchestral composition and took a lesson with Francesco Ferrini of Fleshgod Apocalypse specifically on the subject, and it’s wildly apparent that she absorbed what she learned like a sponge. The orchestration on Emerald Seas is among the most intuitively crafted that I have heard in the genre. The rest of the Seven Spires lineup is by no means filler to accompany Adrienne. Guitarist and songwriter Jack Kosto’s virtuosic guitar solos are smooth and impeccable (“Ghost of a Dream”), Peter Albert de Reyna’s galloping bass in “Every Crest” and menacing solo in “Fearless” are delightful, and Chris Dovas’s drum intro in “Every Crest” never fails to give me the chills.

I’d like to offer up the fact that Adrienne Cowan and the rest of the Seven Spires act are the next big thing to keep an eye on in the symphonic metal world (even one of my iciest-hearted colleagues gave them a nod!1), but that label doesn’t fully do the band justice. Emerald Seas aggressively commanded my attention from the first listen and is truly the embodiment of symphonic metal at its very best. The album is brimming with ambition, heart, and raw tenderness. Adrienne announced just a matter of days ago that she finished composing the orchestrations for Spires III, and I cannot wait to see the magic that Seven Spires enchant us with next with their unbounded talent.

Tracks to Check Out: “Every Crest,” “Drowner of Worlds,” “The Trouble with Eternal Life”

Show 1 footnote

  1. “It’s shockingly not-terrible for a Disneyish power metal album and I don’t like power metal much anymore.” – El Cuervo
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