Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery Review

Last weekend, I set out on a long run on Washington’s epic Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail. Though I consider myself substantially more serious about running than the average couch to 5K runner, I do not generally get swept up in painstakingly recording splits or hitting weekly mileage goals. For this run in particular, I could not be bothered to check my GPS watch when I felt it vibrate, indicating the completion of another mile. I had more important business to tend to on this run. I could not hear the sound of my trail runners pounding the gravel nor my breathing over the sound of Seven Spires’s third and newest album Gods of Debauchery playing through my sport earbuds.

I gazed up ten miles into my run during “This God is Dead,” and it was then that the magnitude of the misty, tree-covered mountains surrounding me in every direction hit me with the force of a freight train. The cars skittering along I-90 far below the trail looked like minuscule bugs, and, at that moment, I felt microscopic in the face of the vast and craggy landscape before me. The scale of my surroundings brought me a sense of immense wonder and a new perspective. My attention softened, it occurred to me then that this feeling of being a tiny cog in the enormous machine of our world was not only a byproduct of the monolithic scenery around me but also the intense awe I was feeling while listening to Gods of Debauchery.

Seven Spires released their second full-length album Emerald Seas, the prequel to their debut album Solveig, in February 2020. In tragic fashion, the four Berklee College of Music graduates scrapped their tour because of the global pandemic. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, the band wrote nearly 80 minutes of glorious new music, a true testament to their fervent love for the crafts of songwriting and musicianship. I raved about Emerald Seas in TYMHM last year, and let’s just say that my expectations were high for Gods of Debauchery. From the first low drone and lilt by vocalist Adrienne Cowan in album opener “Wanderer’s Prayer,” I could feel a chill in my bones that Seven Spires was yet again at the top of their game. After listening to GoD on repeat for the past week, I will not be retracting that sentiment. On GoD, Seven Spires play to their strengths in a more ambitious way than ever before.

Pinpointing the highlights of GoD is a challenge, because I have identified so many. The frenetic bassline on “Shadow on an Endless Sea” is nothing short of masterful, the magnum opus track “This God is Dead” featuring Roy Khan is achingly beautiful, Chris Dovas executes drums with the precision of a complex machine, every transition is artful, and orchestration on several of the songs intelligently revisits motifs from previous work which provides moments for old fans to reminisce. While every member of Seven Spires shows up with jaw-dropping technical prowess, Adrienne’s passionate chameleonic vocals are the beating heart of GoD, even on the infections pop number “Lightbringer,” the only track on the album I have gripes with and one I’m going to pretend doesn’t exist.

My review of GoD is horrendously late, butit takes time to map out which words to use to articulate an assessment of an album that brings me so much joy it hurts. Listening to Gods of Debauchery brought me a sense of tender wonder and a renewed love for the mood-altering power of music. Up until now, I refrained from name-dropping other metal bands because Seven Spires are in their own world of monumental and innovative metal which transcends genre. Spanning the gamut from symphonic metal to progressive metal and blackened death (“The Cursed Muse”), Seven Spires also take inspiration from Late Romantic Classical Music. Sprinkles of Kamelot, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Dimmu Borgir can be heard on GoD, so there’s a high likelihood you’ll join my Seven Spires fan club if you treasure any one of those groups. Seven Spires is a group of remarkably talented musicians and storytellers, and I could not recommend GoD more highly. As I reflect on my own experiences with listening to new music, I love bringing albums out into nature with me for the tranquility and peace of mind to allow the music to wash over me, and I encourage you to bring this album with you to your favorite place in nature. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 264 kbps mp3
Label: Frontiers Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: September 10th, 2021

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