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TRACK LIST: 1. Liquid Water 3:39 2. Ocean of Time 4:37 3. Freeway 4:12 4. Apart From Here 5:08 5. Broken Artist 2:39 6. Control Me 4:09 7. Damaged 4:23 8. My Only Honor 3:26 9. April 3:05 10. Nine to Five 1:49 11. Machine 2:08 12. Wherever 4:48 LINEUP: Konstantin Batygin – guitars; vocals Yuri Batygin – bass; vocals Sergei Smet – drums
Prolusion. The US-based act THE SEVENTH SEASON can trace its history back to 1972, when the band was founded by Yury Batygin in Moscow, Russia. The band folded in 1979, but was revived in 1998 in the USA with a new set of musicians, including Yuri's son Konstantin. "Liquid Water" is the third production by this band since reforming and was released in 2007.
Analysis. What in store for those who purchase this album are 10 tunes exploring a mainstream-tinged form of hard rock close to AOR and two bluesy compositions. It's a style of music heavily explored and as a whole The Seventh Season lacks a few qualities to be a stand-out act in this filed, but there are a few gems to be found in this creation if one has a soft spot for the more elaborate varieties of the genre. The band is a power trio and although some synths and piano are added to selected parts of compositions, this is first and foremost a guitar dominated and guitar driven production. One somewhat more elaborate than most acts exploring similar musical territories I might add. Layered guitars are a common feature throughout this album and most times I picked up three distinct layers at work, unless my ears deceived me. Slow-to-mid-paced riff patterns and drawn out riffs are the backbone in most compositions, with the former used for verse and instrumental parts and the latter for chorus segments mostly. Clean, undistorted guitar licks add textures and nuances, and acoustic guitar parts have much of the same function in the compositions in a more subtle manner. Some passages or songs contain alternatives to this formula, dual layers of guitar riffs or melodic guitar licks as the dominating layer being the most common of those, but the approach is rather formulaic. Much the same can be said about the compositional structures. Verse and chorus are repeated twice; then a brief instrumental passage with melodic or atmospheric guitar soloing follows, with a repeated chorus section or a final verse and chorus added to the last part of the track. There are some alternate variants of this formula too, but none of them are of major importance in terms of understanding this album. The songs do come across as rather average fare in most instances though. This is a heavily explored genre, there is a limited musical palette played upon, and the moods and melodies generally fail to come across as unique or extremely captivating. Okay tunes for the most part, and this is probably a CD that will get played on a few long car trips in the future, but only a few select tracks have a quality that makes you really take notice. The vocals may be partially to blame for that - powerful and dominating, but at times with more of a talk-like quality than a singing one, and in a few instances rather heavily accented. Not a big issue for all and sundry, but at least for me this was a distracting element.
Conclusion. The Seventh Season is an outfit that probably won't be too interesting to those yearning for unique, creative musical endeavors, but if hard rock with a strong AOR tinge to it is of interest there are a handful of songs on this creation that may well be worthwhile checking out. It is an uneven production, rather uninteresting seen from a purely progressive point of view, and not a strong production within the genre it's exploring either.
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