Wednesday 30 January 2019

Seven More Days - Little Dark Pleasures (2018)

Country: UK
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 21 Feb 2018
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Official Website

Thus far, what's impressed me most about the New Wave of Classic Rock is that the bands are so varied. Massive Wagons aren't remotely Inglorious and neither of them are Doomsday Outlaw. Well, none of them are Seven More Days either, but there's a quality that runs through all of those bands.

Seven More Days are heavier, more like a New Wave of Classic Power Metal, but they're still melodic and soulful. The most obvious influence I felt was Metal Church, but there's a lot of Accept and Toranaga here as well, plus some Savatage and UFO and Demon. There's plenty of Dio too, whether solo or going back to Rainbow and especially Black Sabbath. At points there's even a folk influence, but I don't mean folk metal as we think of it today; I mean sixties folk like Steeleye Span at the beginning of Castles in the Sky or some of the San Francisco psych bands in the first half of Ode to Innocence.

And I really do mean heavier, by the way. This band have a real punch. Little Dark Pleasures opens up with a seven minute song, which is a little ballsy to begin with, but it follows some delicate guitarwork with soft vocals and then wham! It hits and it hits hard, with an unmistakable modern bass-driven mix but traditional power metal feels.

It's steady stuff, never speeding up even when we think it's surely about to, like it's a band who leapt into that modern studio directly from 1982 so metal hasn't really sped up for them yet. It's built on solid riffs from Chris Porter and patient, astoundingly reliable drumming from Baz Lowe that does precisely what it needs to and not a single note more. It was very reminiscent to me of Accept's Princess of the Dawn on that front.

And wow, that's an outrageously confident vocal from Daz Valentine! He's a lot of Dio and a lot of David Wayne, with some Mark Duffy from Toranaga and maybe a little Lou Gramm as a chaser, and this is precisely why it's important for bands to pick their album openers carefully. Salanders Tale utterly defines who Seven More Days are and it couldn't have done it better. If they can't sway you with those seven minutes, this band aren't going to be for you; on the flipside, if you're going to become a fan, that one song is going to do it for you right then and there.

The rest of the album follows very much in Salanders Tale's footprints. It does slow down further at points, in songs like Not Too Long and One Mind and parts of others too, but the underlying key points are always the same. It's heavy stuff. Lowe and bassist James Kirkby are unrelentingly reliable. There are neat solos from Porter. And Valentine's voice remains clean and powerful and prevents this from ever moving into doom territory.

Back from the Dead is achingly slow, for instance, but it's never doom because of Valentine. It feels more like a glam rock 45 played at 33. If it was sped up, would he start to sound like Vince Neil? This steadfast refusal to speed up does feel a little odd but it also feels good. While I can hear all sorts of influences, I don't know anyone else who sounds quite like this and the tempo is the biggest part of that.

I should also shout out for Not Too Long, which really isn't too long in the slightest. It's a softer song with a Dio feel, some Spanish guitar and strings that actually work as part of the song instead of just as a trendy extra credit. They underline a real sense of menace that builds partway through; that menace is reprised on One Mind and is never better than halfway into Ode to Innocence with a killer riff and bells that can't fail to bring old Black Sabbath or even Pantera to mind.

I liked this on a first listen and I liked it more on a second and third run through. but it's something that deserves more than that. I have a feeling that this is an album that's going to seep into the soul and stake a claim. It's definitely dark. It's definitely a pleasure. The only thing it isn't, at an hour in length, is little. Let's hope it becomes a very big thing indeed.

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