Seventh Wonder - The Great Escape
Lion Music
Progressive Metal
7 songs (67:21)
Release year: 2010
Seventh Wonder, Lion Music
Reviewed by Thomas

Ever since progressive metal took a u-turn and headed straight out of my life a couple of years ago, there have been very few glimpses of greatness from the scene. There's something about it that just seems pale nowadays and it's incredibly hard for newer bands not to get lumped into a dusty box without ever getting to see the light of day again. Sure there are some, like Pathosray and Aspera which are well worth mentioning, but other than that there has been a serious lack of quality and effort even from the huge names. Anyway, one of the bands I've kept coming back to is Seventh Wonder, who absolutely rocked my world with Mercy Falls back in 2008. Needless to say, my and everyone else's expectations were sky-high when Alley Cat got released as a tease earlier this fall, a song that contains all their trademark elements. On the band's forum, where the band members are pretty active, regular updates were written up every other day, and the big highlight seemed to be the monster of a title-track closing the album, clocking in for over 30 minutes. For my part, scepticism raged on that particular note, but what the hell, this was going to be fantastic anyway, so I didn't mind it. So, can the guys top their previous absolute highlight? Or will this fall in between Mercy Falls and Waiting in the Wings? Firstly, this is a bit different from their earlier outings. This is not a concept album, and is not anywhere near the same proportions as Mercy Falls. It contains seven songs, no interludes, intros nor outros, just straight-forward head-on progressive styled metal with bunches of jump. Secondly the production is significantly better than before, and the guitars finally sound more whole than hollow. It's still not perfect, as especially the lead guitar sound is pretty damn bland in all honesty. I will however not focus on that here, since everyone will be able to overlook it for the damn fine album this is as a whole.

Wiseman starts everything off and could probably be pulled straight out of Mercy Falls. That's not a bad thing at all, and this is pretty much the perfect opener, as it's the fastest song on here and it'll pull you right into everything you've missed for the last two years. This is just as catchy and melodic as before, the orchestral arrangements are still there, towering over everything else, the virtous bassing of Andreas Blomquist as well as the awesomely compelling vocal work of Tommy Karevik. Following up is the already well-known Alley Cat which is more of a rocker than anything else. The lyrics are very lame, but again, the music itself as well as the vocals are simply breathtaking. For everyone who have been loving the shit out of this tune ever since it was released onto the web will be more or less pleased to hear that this is among the weaker tracks on the album, which is saying a lot. The really tasty, delicious stuff is due after the opening duo, and The Angelmaker deals out massive amounts of melody as well as the best chorus/pre-chorus/whatever on the entire album that definitely will get you singing along. King of Whitewater continues in the same vein, with beautiful melodies as well as great riffing and licks. The ballad Long Way Home isn't too bad either, and finishes with a strong guitar-solo and some nice female vocals accompanying Karevik. After the shorter rocker Move on Through it's time for the astonishing title-track. I had pretty mixed feelings about that one at first, since it seemed like they did it just for the sake of doing it, instead of putting their heart and soul into the full thirty minutes. However, there are surprisingly few weak parts to spot and it has eventually ended up as my favourite song of the whole album. It represents the band in a perfect way, it never gets pompous, and it stays interesting until the very end.

The Great Escape sounds like mature mix of Pain of Salvation and A.C.T, which leaves you in a place where you really can't ask for more. Except the weak lead guitar sound there is really nothing to point a finger at. This is the Seventh Wonder we all know and love. The insane sense of melody, huge compositions, incredible vocal work, song-writing and musical perfection is all there, and there's no way you'd hate this if you loved Mercy Falls. Even if this isn't quite as good or complex in terms of song-writing, it still kicks a lot of ass, and is clearly one of the best releases of 2010, and one of the most worthwhile progressive metal releases that has come out in ages. If you like the aforementioned bands as well as Symhpony X, The Flower Kings hell, even early Allen/Lande, this should be right up your alley. Great stuff!

Killing Songs :
Every song is great but The Great Escape is the definite highlight.
Thomas quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Seventh Wonder that we have reviewed:
Seventh Wonder - Waiting In the Wings reviewed by Thomas and quoted 79 / 100
Seventh Wonder - Mercy Falls reviewed by Thomas and quoted 90 / 100
Seventh Wonder - Become reviewed by Ian and quoted 81 / 100
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