Seattle based – Seven Against Thebes, formed in 2007 with Bruce Burgess on drums, Cyrus Rhodes on guitars, Dave Black on bass and Rusty Hoyle on vocals. These players can handle a variety of songwriting and playing feats, with some clearly felt influences and a whole lot of originality of their own for a post-grunge era band with much more than alternative rock chops.
“Serpens Caput” opens the disc with an interesting sitar piece that builds up into a percussive ending before crashing into the next track “7.A.T” with the vocals of Rusty Hoyle menacing over some more percussion with an incendiary performance in the studio on a song with a lot of cool breaks in it and scathing lyrics. The driving rhythm and blazing guitar fills carry it well and it’s more of the same on the next track “equilibrium” with its even fuller plate of alt. rock antics.
“Nemesis” explores a wide musical path as the groove cuts right through your ears while singer Rusty Holye manages to shine ever brightly in one of his best vocals on the disc, and that goes for lyrics and all on this epic number. The frenetic percussion by Bruce Burgess kicks off the next track “Mask” without losing any time getting into the main ingredients of the song, and it’s one of those tunes you swear you’ve heard before, but that’s just down to the vocals once again delivering a fine job. The guitar soling is scratchy and catchy, and it’s all topped off with a pulverizing drum show and killer elongated vocals with a crossfading effect at the end, which carries into the next song.
“7th Sign” sounds something like a combination of Uriah Heep and Alice In Chains. The jangly guitar and talk-style vocals also remind of bands like Stone Temple Pilots, but it’s the guitar work of Cyrus Rhodes that makes this a magnum opus of sort. It’s hard not to give this top-marks, because it’s contagious, but after hearing it repeatedly it only gains more as it goes. “Prey For Me” is where things get undeniably awesome and there’s no other consensus but to be blown away by everything about it, once again making it hard not to rave about. These two songs alone take the price of admission.
The lyrics go over the top on “Feed The Furnace” with some more appropriately incendiary guitar, pleading vocals and beefy rhythm section work to keep it together. There’s a message here but the vocals always somehow deliver something substantial no matter what he’s sings, with stuff like “it’ll come down to who you are” being of exemplary merit.
“Swandiver” would remind much more of other bands that can be compared to Seven Against Thebes, but it’s that Indian sitar flavor whenever applied that sets them completely apart. This one contends with the top four tracks, it serves the album very well. “Ophiushus” is a thing of majesty before there’s more energy still to be had on “Suicide Note” which covers a depth unheard elsewhere on the disc. The epilog ending is the outro instrumental track “Serpens Cauda” which lays a finish on the album’s intro, but with some extra surprises on an album that would surprise anyone looking for good hard rock.