Seventh Angel was a progressive thrash band from England. They released two full-length albums and a few songs on some compilations before breaking up. Guitarist/vocalist Ian Arkley went on to form Ashen Mortality before joining Australian doom band Paramaecium.
Seventh Angel - The Torment (Edge/Pure Metal) 1990
1. "Tormented Forever"
Seventh Angel are one of the best progressive thrash bands you've never heard. These English thrashers came along during the height of the thrash scene but never had the right distribution to get their name out to the masses. Too bad as Seventh Angel is one phenomenal band. Favorites from this album are "Tormented Forever", one of the band's fastest and best songs, "Expletive Deleted", a fast and furious thrasher, and "Dr. Hatchet" a controversial anti-abortion song with a killer hook and a monster riff. Musically "The Torment" reflected well the British thrash scene at the time. (Acid Reign, Detritus, Re-Animator, Sabbat, etc.) Lyrically, however, Seventh Angel were far more positive than most bands during their time, with the songs being written from a Christian perspective. Having said that, most will assume the lyrics to be of the "turn or burn" variety, which is not the case here at all. Rather the band deals with issues and politics, only instead of the typical negative attitude, offers a ray of hope. The cover art is by Rodney Matthews who has also done covers for Detritus, Veni Domine, Nazareth and Asia.
Seventh Angel - Lament for the Weary (Edge/Pure Metal) 1991
of a Life Once Lived" (2:53)
S.A. took it to the next level on this one. This is a thrash masterpiece! One thing that really helped excel this album was that they slowed down a bit from their debut and allowed the riffs to be heard. There are parts of this CD that I would even describe as dark and doomy. Certainly songs like "Life in All It's Emptiness" reflected this mood. The slower, heavier vibe of the music actually worked well with the subject matter. Lament For the Weary is a concept album which lyrically focuses on dealing with depression and pain. Of course that doesn't mean that the entire album is slow and depressing. There are peaks and valleys throughout, creating one of the finest speed metal albums of the early 90's. Of course most people wouldn't know that as this band was plagued with poor distribution and promotion.
Once again, the awesome cover painting is by Rodney Matthews. Both Seventh Angel CD went out of print quickly and were extremely hard to find for a long time. For years they were selling for large sums of cash. I bought both as new releases. For those less fortunate, both CDs had been re-released in '05.
Seventh Angel - Heed The Warning (Bombworks) 2005
Heed the Warning [demo]
In 2005 Bombworks Records released the infamous "Heed the Warning" demo, along with some live material from Seventh Angel. Seventh Angel have always had cool cover art and this time around is no exception. The cover was created by Rexorcist who has also done work for bands like Opeth and Tourniquet. There really isn't much to dislike about this CD. Being a big fan of the band's only two studio albums, I was more than stoked to hear that Bombworks was going to release their equally great "Heed the Warning" demo. Many may be fooled by the word "demo", but hear this loud and clear, the production and songwriting are easily as good as anything on "The Torment". As a matter of fact, the song "Seven Angels" is probably one of my favorite songs by this band. I had heard this song on the "White Metal Warriors" compilation and have always been enamored by the song. Not only is it heavy and aggressive, but the hooks is undeniable. There is also this very cool "metal on metal" sound at the end of the song that almost sounds like a hammer on an anvil. (Can you get any more METAL than that?!) The four demo tracks are worth the price of this CD alone. However, Bombworks wasn't content to just release a cheap EP, instead chosing to include a bunch of live tracks recorded at various locations. The production on these live tracks aren't quite as good as the studio songs, but they are still very listenable and very much a welcome addition to this CD. It's a bummer that Seventh Angel only released two albums and while there may never be a new album from them, it's cool to have this CD as an addition to the collection.
1. "Chaos of Dreams" (5:08)
2. "The Turning Tide" (5:00)
3. "Exordium" (6:06)
4. "Weep Not For Us" (6;10)
5. "Abélard And Helois" (6:31)
6. "In Ruins" (7:11)
7. "Lamentations" (7:33)
8. "The Raven Sky" (10:04)
9. "Oswiecim" (5:28)
Seventh's Angel's Ian Arkley has been busy over the years since the demise of the band in the 1990's. He's been a part of Australian death/doom metal band Paramaecium and has released several albums with his bands Ashen Mortality and My Silent Wake. In 2008, the British heavy metal band reunited with former members Ian Arkley, drummer Tank, guitarist Simon Bibby and bassist Mark Broomhead. Soon after the initial reunion it was announced that Seventh Angel would be recording a new CD, complete with cover artwork from Matt Vickerstaff of Darkwave Art.
I received an advance copy of "The Dust of Years" and after only one spin, immediately liked what I heard. My first thoughts were that the music seemed to be a natural continuation of where the band was heading with "Lament for the Weary". On that album, the band had moved away from the pure thrash metal of "The Torment" and began experimenting with slower tempos. With "The Dust of Years", Arkley's metal misfits mix together some upbeat heavy metal and a whole lot of slower doom metal. The music contained herein sports heavy riffs, crunchy guitars, sweeping acoustic passages, and dynamic songwriting. Ian is a master of creating emotion with his words and music, and that is exactly what he does on "The Dust of Years". Fans of Arkley's doom material will find much to like about "The Dust or Years". That same dark, somber emotion present on the My Silent Wake releases is present on the music here as well. In fact, "Exordium" is a slow, moody track that could very easily have fit onto any My Silent Wake album. Other tracks such as "Chaos of Dreams" and "The Turning Tide" sound much closer to the classic "Lament for the Weary" sound, albeit with a more modern production.
This time around the vocals are more aggressive as well. At times the vocals are almost death metal growled, much like on the My Silent Wake material. However, there is a mixture of shouted thrash vocals and some clean vocals as well. At times there is both clean and death growls at the same time which actually work quite well together.
"The Dark of Years" is a dark, emotional album that will surely appeal to fans of moody doom metal. As this was the direction Seventh Angel seemed headed in on "Lament For the Weary", I see "The Dust of Years" as the natural follow-up to that album. Both Seventh Angel and My Silent Wake fans alike should find something to like here.