Florida remains a fertile climate for traditional power metal. Everyone who spends time acclimating to the sound and digging into the history has at least a passing knowledge of Savatage, Nasty Savage, Crimson Glory, Iced Earth and Kamelot, who all developed from this southeastern part of the United States. All acts who remain separate and distinct from one another- an admirable trait where copycats can plague a local network. Seven Kingdoms hail from Orlando, Winter Haven and Deland, FL for the most part (within an hour’s drive of each other based on my research) and since recording "Brothers Of The Night" have parted ways with keyboardist John Zambrotto and added in a new female singer as a second vocalist (Sabrina Valentine). This 10 song, 57 minute effort spans the gamut of American and European power metal, along with spices of melodic death for good measure.
The basic home studio recordings get a serious professional treatment in the mixing and mastering session from Jim Morris of Morrisound Studios, and I also think it was a wise move to have the vocals and keyboard solos tracked there. Seven Kingdoms throw down speedy chops, catchy chorus work and lyrics inspired by George R.R. Martin’s work- taking a page from Blind Guardian, Iced Earth and Dark Tranquility I think with their sound. Vocalist Bryan Edwards can sing as well as growl, employing a dual clean/ ferocious bite in tracks like "Stormborn" and "Dragonflight" that will have some point inspiration to Falconer and others Amon Amarth. Guitarist Cameron Cruz blazes on the solo terrain, as its understandable how he quickly gained endorsements for his technique which runs the guitar hero spectrum over the last three decades. The man who must feel like he’s run a marathon though after every set would be drummer Keith Byrd- he keeps the double bass gallop going at Cellador/ Dragonforce warp proportions.
Excellent packaging rounds out the complete Seven Kingdoms picture. Record labels should be clamoring for this act soon- they’ve done their homework, studied from their mentors and try very hard to add another interesting twist on the genre. My picks to click - the sledgehammer blast from "Blackwater Rush" and the deathly tribal closer "Winter Comes".
Grab your swords and shields, for Seven Kingdoms come to unite in metal brotherhood with honor and glory.
Composed by Matt Coe