After wading through piles and piles of dark, serious Metal albums for the past few months, having to review SEVENTH AVENUE’s “Terium” is like a breath of fresh air, or a light at the end of a tunnel. While it’s not as explicitly happy as, say, POWER QUEST, SEVENTH AVENUE is all about catchy hooks, anthemic choruses, and a very polished sound.
The album itself seems to be a concept album that follows a complex tale of prophecies, assassinations, corrupt clergy, and the titular life-prolonging mineral that links them all together. Described by the band as “an allegory for the life and acts of Jesus,” it’s a brave mix of fantasy, science fiction, and gritty reality, and it works; SEVENTH AVENUE do manage to weave a really great story. Kudos to lyrical mastermind (and drummer) Mike Pflüger.
Of course, a great story is nothing without powerful music to back it up, and fortunately, SEVENTH AVENUE have got that covered as well. The instruments and melodies are a product of the mind of vocalist/guitarist Herbie Langhans, and he does a masterful job with them; every song is absolutely nailed in terms of musical rhythm. Fast-paced Power Metal anthems dominate the album, but they never become boring due to the fantastically catchy (and quite different) choruses. Ballads come at just the right times, and are equally well done.
Obviously, such a high concept could not be carried out without hearty performances from the band members themselves, and yes, they can back up their ambition with the requisite virtuosity. Everyone comes in clear through the mix, and even though Langhans’ divine vocals are the highlight here, everyone gets their turn in the spotlight. I’m sure having Sascha Paeth master the album certainly didn’t hurt.
If you’re a fan of concept-heavy Power Metal in the vein of AVANTASIA’s “The Metal Opera” or even the GENIUS trilogy, then you’ll absolutely love “Terium.” It’s fast, well-written, interesting, and catchy as all hell. Definitely one of the best Power Metal releases of the year.
(Online August 17, 2008)