Seventh Power - s/t (Retroactive Records) 2006
1. "Christ Died"
Seventh Power is the band fronted by Bill Menchen, guitarist for both Titanic and Final Axe. Together with Stryper drummer Robert Sweet Final Axe bassist Rod Reasner, Seventh Power have released their first self-titled CD. The music is much like Menchen's other bands, simplistic, straight-forward, mid-paced heavy metal. However, Bill does add in some other influences to mix things up, adding in some power metal and doom influences throughout. The instrumental “Seven Golden Lampstands” and the slightly heavier and experimental “Ocean Of Emotion Motion” add to the albums diversity as well. "Possesser of You" adds in some eerie sounding keyboards that give the song a different flavor as well. "Eye in the Skies" starts off with a nice mixture of piano and guitar crunch, before breaking into a straight-forward metal number. "Heaven's Gates" also offers some of this piano/guitar mix in the middle of the song. It might have been cool to have heard the band take this a bit further. Bill becomes the band's vocalist, as well as guitarist and songwriter. Unfortunately this is the weakest part of the CD. His vocal style is pretty simplistic and mundane, with touches of Ozzy Osbourne at times. To compensate for the lack of dynamics in the vocals, Bill uses different, digital, robotic sounding vocal effects on just about every song. On "Ocean of Emotion" he plays around with all sorts of different and bizarre vocal effects throughout the song. I am sure the reason for this is because these effects help distract from the fact that the lyrics are so repetitive. Actually the entire song is nothing more than the song title being repeated over and over again. "The Power" is also a bit repetitive with the chorus, "The power of Christ compels you" being repeated at least twenty times or more in the song. The rest of the lyrics are all Christian based, but are also well written and don't come off as cheesy or as repetitive as the two aforementioned songs. Overall, I find the music on Seventh Power to be high quality heavy metal, it's just a shame that the vocals are so monotonous and the vocal effects so distracting.
1 "Dominion &
Bill Menchen is one busy musician. It seems there is constantly something coming out with his name on it. Titanic, Final Axe, Redeemer and The Seventh Power. "Dominion and Power" is the second release from The Seventh Power. The band remains the same for record number two and once again includes Stryper drummer Robert Sweet Final Axe bassist Rod Reasner. As with most of Menchen's projects, Dominion & Power will appeal to fans of simple, straight-forward, mostly mid-paced heavy metal. Menchen seems to have an entire arsenal of classic metal riffs at his disposal. I particularly liked the machine gun riff of "Everlasting Fire". His guitar work is one of the highlights of this album, although Sweet's drumming also stands out. Those familiar with Sweet's work with Stryper know what to expect here. Robert is not overly flashy, but he certainly does have a style to his playing that sets him apart.
What sets this CD apart from the band's debut is that Menchen seems to have pursued a more stripped down, straight forward, musical direction. The keys play a less important role and many of the former symphonic and power metal touches have been removed in favor of melody. The keyboards are still present in songs like"Everlasting Fire" and "King of All Kings", but they don't seem to be the focus of the music overall. The guitars are well recorded and have a tight crunch, with the bass guitar filling in the necessary bottom end. There are some good guitar solo breaks throughout. Bill is not an overly fancy lead player, but his leads fit the feel of the song. I actually would have liked to have heard some more melodic solos and fills splashed throughout the songs.
Unfortunately, as with the debut, I find the vocals to be very distracting. Bill's vocals are pretty mundane and lacking charisma. I think what really adds to this distraction is the fact that the vocals are all very digital and processed sounding. I am not studio engineer, but I would say that there is far too much effect added to the vocals. It almost sounds robotic at times. If Bill was to get a dynamic vocalist for this band, The Seventh Power could be a force to be reckoned with. As is stands, however, Bill's vocals are pretty mundane and lacking charisma.