Seven Sisters – Shadow Of A Fallen Star Part 1 (Dissonance Productions)
Bands synonymous with the burgeoning New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal movement.
American acts for whom obscure NWOBHM singles, Neat Records and a certain bunch of strat-wielding West Ham fans, are sacred.
Yes, the NWOTHM is bubbling away quite nicely in the US and Canada.
But look at the UK scene and you’ll find some exceptional talented bands with Maiden, Satan, Saxon and Angel Witch embedded into their DNA.
And in the ‘true heavy metal’ underground, London-based quartet Seven Sisters need no introduction.
Led by guitarist/vocalist Kyle McNeill, they gave the razor sharp sound of early Iron Maiden vivid new life on their rip roaring debut.
And the quartet followed that up with their prog-tinged 2018 masterpiece, The Cauldron And The Cross.
That record marked a major leap in songcraft and demonstrated an innate understanding of classic metal dynamics.
Yet Shadow Of A Fallen Star Part 1 tops it.
And given the ambition shown on The Cauldron And The Cross, that’s saying something…
Shaped around a sci-fi concept, it is the work of a band growing in confidence, and fully capable of realising McNeill’s astral vision.
And while it’s the first album to feature drummer bassist Gaz Martin and sticksman Sam Christou, Shadow Of A Fallen Star Part 1 is still unmistakeably Seven Sisters.
McNeill and fellow guitarist Graeme Farmer, for instance, reprise their slick Murray/Smith partnership, with scintillating fretwork swooping and diving across songs such as Truth’s Burden.
There are echoes of 2016’s The Silk Road in the band’s third full-length.
However, it’s clear that the band have also matured significantly since the days of Highways Of The Night.
The improvement in McNeill’s singing since those early days is striking: the slow burning Wounds Of Design is a particularly fine example of the frontman’s growing vocal prowess… as well as his sublime skill as a writer.
And the choruses are enormous.
The Artifice should be sung from the peak of Olympus Mons, such is the song’s stratospheric might, and Horizon’s Eye draws from the ancient scrolls of Dickinson, Tate and Dio as it strides out of the solar system.
Seven Sisters still have real bite too.
Beyond The Black Stars, energised by Christou’s precision drumming, glides into into power metal territory, while the pacey Whispers In The Dark gallops headlong into glory.
This is British steel, make no mistake.
Will Shadow Of A Fallen Star Part 1 take Seven Sisters to the next level?
If there’s any justice, then yes.
It is a sparkling shard of celestial heavy metal.
And it could well turn out to be Seven Sisters’ own Number Of The Beast.