The Cauldron and the Cross
“The Cauldron and the Cross” is Seven Sisters’ second full length album, released this year. Deeply reminiscent of Iron Maiden, it is dripping with old school rock/metal riffs and heavy metal bass. They cleverly master and interchange between a variety of paces and styles. They produce slow and mystical songs that draw you in but then flow into hard hitting rock melodies with electric sharp guitar riffs and fast drum action. They even interchange between slow and fast paces with ease during their first song, showcasing their musical talent. The fast pace and electric energy in the opening of “The Premonition” shakes you awake and gets you pumped. Setting the tone for a hell of a heavy metal album.
When I’m reviewing an album, I like to find a quiet place or time (which isn’t easy, and often only have the spare time on my long bus commutes!) and listen to the whole album. Preferably with my eyes closed, to be able to really focus on and listen to every element of each song. When I closed my eyes and listened to “The Cauldron and the Cross”, a vision, or a premonition if you will, came to me. To me, it told a story of suspense yet feverish excitement. As the Vikings set sail for new and foreign lands. So, I thought I would try and describe to you what I saw…
“Blood and Fire” has a different pace from “The Premonition”, starting with a mystical slower start, beginning the fantasy odyssey. Close your eyes and let the mists of time flood the darkness. You feel like you’re floating on a boat in the open ocean. The beat picks up, and through the mist you can see something emerging, the head of a dragon, carved into wood. Ahead a Viking Dragonship, as the heavy beats drop, they crash their axes against their shields, and call for blood and fire.
“Once and Future King” starts with a more electric and fast pace. The vocals take a stronger lead, echoing above the guitar riffs. One of the Vikings stands, at the prow of the ship, resting his hand on the dragon head. Addressing his warriors, he rallies their spirits and calls them to war. To fight for their once and future king.
The mists part, everyone holds their breath, as just the guitar plays slowly. Then as someone calls “land ahead” and the pace and excitement increase. Leading on to some incredible guitar riffs, in the second half of “Parting the Mists”.
“Turning of the Tide” brings back the heavy metal notes and rock’s faster pace and electric guitar sounds. As the Viking’s boats crash through the tide, onto foreign shore, they praise their Gods. The lyrics call out of the sound of Thor’s thunder and the clash of steel on shield once more. The lyrics paint vivid imagery of the battle, and perils they will soon face.
“Oathbreaker” has a more sober tone and pace. The leader once again stand before his people, to call them to arms, he raises his own sword above his head. In the moonlight you can read the name “oathbreaker” carved into the blade.
With yet another twist in pace, “A Land in Darkness” has a powerful start, blasting out after the very slow and mystical end of “Oathbreaker”. Loftin, on drums, coming crashing in with razor sharp guitar riffs in the final chapter of this Viking tale. Which sets the scene perfectly for the title song “The Cauldron and the Cross”.
Their final song is a sixteen minute spectacular featuring elements from across heavy rock and metal genres. With the galloping rhythms, reminiscent of Maiden, you can imagine the hoard of Vikings charging across the battlefield. The powerful vocal chorus tells a story and builds the anticipation. The commanding, formidable and fast arpeggios and guitar solo grabs your focus. The Iron Maiden influence seeps into the solo, with melodic harmonies reminiscent of neoclassical metal. The fully embody old school rock and metal, yet give it a modern edge by breaking out of standard rock. The occasional use of changing time signatures hint at a progressive rock influence. Somehow, they bring it all together, acuminating in a harmonious ensemble.
Seven Sisters cleverly bring together elements from power metal, neoclassical, early thrash and progressive rock. To create a unique modern twist on classic hard rock and heavy metal sounds. I really enjoyed listening to this album, and the story it created for me. I grew up on the old school hard rock & heavy metal of bands like Iron Maiden. So, having that undertone with modern influences brought the glory days to life.