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Seventh Dimension – ‘Black Sky’

Publisher
Corrupted Records
FFO
Dream Theater, Haken, Andromeda, Symphony X
Release Date
June 18, 2021
Publisher
Corrupted Records
Genre
Progressive/Power Metal

Do you ever reach that moment, when listening to some of your favourite Dream Theater tracks? That sense of realisation reached somewhere between the third Rudess keyboard solo and the billionth Portnoy fill, when you take a step back, and think to yourself; ‘why is this song still going on?’ and switch over to something shorter? Seventh Dimension may be the band for you! The longest track on this newest album, closing piece ‘Incubus’, is only 9 minutes long, and varies noticeably and with impressive levels of exceeding and subverting expectation on a level only the absolute best progressive songs manage (see ‘Supper’s Ready’ for the absolute masterclass).

The entire album has a strangely familiar feel throughout, tastefully referencing other works and requisitioning established tones and mixing style across all instruments, with keytar/synthesizer clearly taking deep inspiration from Diego Tejeida’s unique style, as exhibited in Haken’s back catalogue, and digital, distorted guitar sounds a la John Petrucci.

This is exactly why this album is so listenable. It takes the basic elements of well-loved bands, most notably Dream Theater, and uses other familiar sounds to smooth out the sound and create something greater than the sum of its parts, and yet remain comfortingly familiar to the casual listener. Sure, these mad Swedes have done a ridiculous, Ayreon-esque 2+ hour double album with multiple 10+ minute songs, and yet it made almost total sense. There’s an almost uncanny ability to avoid Prog-fatigue on display here, and intense musicianship.

With the exception of Dream Theater and perhaps Symphony X, Progressive Metal is fairly niche, so this album is unlikely to win every Metalhead over, although it is undoubtedly one of the finest contemporary examples.

"A lesson in how to write Progressive Metal even the most established names should take note of"
80

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