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Seven Impale - City Of The Sun CD (album) cover

CITY OF THE SUN

Seven Impale

 

Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 251 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Seven Impale burst forth on "City of the Sun" with fresh ideas, incredibly complex music and have put the prog scene on high alert such is the impact of this debut album. The band take a blend of early Van der Graaf Generator whipped up with the cream of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and then glazed over with King Crimson eclecticism. When this is put in the kiln, the refining fire of jazz fusion takes on a very odd shape. This is highly original music with a razor edge of some of the more adventurous off kilter compositions you are likely to hear.

The unusual time signatures and sporadic fractured rhythms are jarring to the ear. Yet the dissonance is infectious as it grows on each listen. 5 tracks of unmeasured diversity and a potpourri of instrumentation. This is one of the delights of 2014.

'Oh, My Gravity!' is 10 minutes of off the wall jazz chaos. It jumps out of the blocks with saxophone bliss over intense out of sync percussion. Just as you relax into it's syncopation it diverts into 7/8 rhythms and then launches into a guitar lick that feels like Robert Fripp entered the room. The vocals are an oddity in themselves, feeling estranged and out of tune yet maintaining a jaded harmony despite the dissonance. The VDGG cacophony of sound is heard reminding me of their masterpiece track 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers'. The opening track builds in tension until the sound becomes layered with organ, heavy guitar riffs, and then Crimsonish stop start chops. A sheer delight on every level and a genuine surprise when discovering this album.

'Windshears' opens with quiet guitar plucks but this is a nice break after the previous madness. The jazz feel is prominent with grand saxophone soloing. I was even reminded of Miles, prog jazz albums such as "Bitches Brew". Eventually the atmosphere is dense and augmented by heavy staccato blasts of guitar and sax. It has a feel of classic prog and of course as such is a proggers delight especially those of us who like the more complex off kilter side of music. Diagonal produced an album like this and it became a treasure in my collection instantly.

'Eschaton Horo' continues the shattered rhythms and features some intricate guitar licks and keyboard lines. The vocals sound like Radiohead's Thom Yorker in all respects. Very laid back on a high register. I love how the sax keeps interjecting and those chimes are gorgeous. This is the more beautiful side of Seven Impale. It still blasts into a crunching instrumental section. This is where the band take off and are at their best. The experimental nature of the music is intoxicating. It is always searching for new directions and explores these over tempo switches and audacious rhythmic figures. My dog didn't like it when they screamed out, and then it blazes away on a hypnotic motif till it settles into a haunting sax solo. The vocals return on a one note verse and it ends.

'Extraction' behind with insane guitar cranking over a wall of jazz cacophony. The melody here feels familiar and the vocals are at times aggressively executed. There are Hammond splashes, floating basslines, and a sizzling sax melody. The guitar solo is beautiful with delay and is joined by sax blasts. The music spins out of control until the organ ropes it back in.

'God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman' is a mini epic of 14:41 length and has as many twists and turns as a fairground roller coaster. It opens with guitar picking and a sax simmering over gradually building to a crescendo of keyboard interplay. The vocals remain laid back giving way to the sax solos and weird time sigs. The bass at times reminds me of the distorted bass on VDGG's "Vital". Their is a cool sax solo and some intense percussion. It gets into some bizarre territory with irregular metrical patterns. The metronome swings oddly as sax and guitar compete got domination. Vocals return to mediate between the duelling instruments. At 9 and a half minutes in the sound becomes raspy with staccato outbursts of music then locks into streams of guitar before coming to a tranquil place. The final melody is infectious and hooks into the brain to culminate in one of the most dynamic eclectic tracks I have heard in years.

It is difficult to convey the type of music on offer here but those who have heard the more adventurous side of King Crimson or VDGG should take delight in this album. I rate it as one of the albums of 2014.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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