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Believe - Seven Widows CD (album) cover

SEVEN WIDOWS

Believe

 

Neo-Prog

4.16 | 97 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
5 stars A collection of masterfully crafted songs. Though the leader is obviously Mirek Gil, all contributors are essential to this product, and those of newcomer Łukasz Ociepa on vocals and especially from long-time violinist and keyboard player, Satomi, are exceptional. With a product like this, the band can be forgiven any and all time taken for its creation and rendering.

1. "I" (10:49) a perfectly crafted, polished song that suffers a little from lack of that over-the-top emotion that we want from Mirek's guitar solos. The song opens with two basic synth chords joined by strummed electric guitar and, in the second minute, bass, drums, and Mirek's lead establishing one of his signatory melodic riffs. But wait! He's joined by the harmonizing effect of the violin! Nice! Violin stays on to supply a staccato-bowed single note variation while newcomer Łukasz Ociepa enters. At 3:27 Mirek switches gears to deliver a true lead solo as the drums and bass make things a little more interesting beneath. And then Satomi joins in and it's magical! Satomi carries the lead over a bridge of emptiness before the band joins back in and continues the instrumental section another minute. A shift in mood and style at the end of the sixth minute leads to another appearance by the band's new vocalist. He's sounding a lot like Karol Wr'blewski in this section. The new mood feels more somber and serious. It plays out for four of the final five minutes of the song--vocals ending in a way that sounds like a DOVES song--before ending with the bombastic section with Mirek's lead riffs. (9/10)

2. "II" (9:07) bass, drums and kalimba-like guitar arpeggi open this one, setting another eerie, ominous tone. Mirek's guitar is a little edgier with some distortion this time as he wails between each of the vocal sections. Satomi's play is more academic, following practice scales, as she interjects an occasional solo or two. At 3:20 everything shifts dramatically as acoustic guitar strums and picked electric play accompaniment to first Satomi's violin and then Mirek's electric wail. At 4:48 the same foundation serves to support Łukasz in a new vocal--one that is slightly muted until he begins to belt it out at 5:30. Nice lower end guitar work from Mirek's lead in the sixth-seventh minutes. When he finally climbs into the upper registers it feels dramatic and gets the adrenaline really pumping. Then he starts using wammy bar and Satomi comes in to reinforce him. And she gets to end it with multiple violin tracks riffing away. This is so sublime! What a team! What a band! This band has really gelled with this album. I'm ready to acclaim them the new Neo Prog masters! (9/10)

3. "III" (7:58) what could have been an average prog song is turned extraordinary by Mirek's solos and Łukasz' wonderful vocals--especially in the mid-section. Great drumming, too! (9/10)

4. "IV" (11:58) from rain storm to playground sounds to an awesomely heavy instrumental opening, the impassioned singing of lead vocalist Łukasz Ociepa only adds credibility to the seriousness of that majestic opening- -and then he goes up another notch in the sixth minute just before Mirek follows suit. God! It's great to hear Mirek Gil letting loose again (albeit, too briefly)! I think every Collage lover wants more of the adrenaline magic of "The Blues" and "Heroes Cry." Lull with bass cords and militaristic toms fill the end of the eighth minute as Satomi plays a respectful folk dirge for the next two minutes. When the band finally brings all back together at the 9:30 mark it sounds so powerful, so supportive of the violin's beautiful and simple eulogy. Amazing the things music can do! An outright masterpiece of simple, efficient power! (10/10)

5. "V" (8:03) Steadily presented heavy prog with no flash or flair, just solid, melody supporting chords over which Satomi's violin and Łukasz' plaintive voice bless us. And Mirek is in the background (at least, until the fourth minute)! Nice guitar'n'drums chase in that fourth minute solo. What a voice! This may be the heir apparent to Marco Gluhmann. He's got some growing to do but he has the pathos! I love the shift at 5:15 into a different time signature with bass and guitar holding steady while Qba's drums and the lead guitar fly (with multiple tracks given to display Mirek's frenetic flourishes). Wow! I'm not sure I can take much more of this adrenaline pumping!(9.5/10)

6. "VI" (8:36) loose chimes bridge songs five and six before a whispered voice delivers its creepy Edgar Allan Poe message. Bass harmonics and toms support heavily distorted guitar arpeggi before Mirek sets up the song with a riff in the lead. The vocal here feels a little buried in the music. Great drum, bass, and atmosphere here but the vocal is just not fitting. It's almost as if this was a long finished instrumental that Łukasz felt he could add a vocal to. It's finally starting to work with the gorgeous violin-aided chorus--which is then followed by one of Mirek's signature ear candy leads. Gorgeous. In the sixth minute organ and synth join as the drums double time for a spell, then things slow back down for another spell-binding violin solo. What a gorgeous melody. Another song I'm going to want to hear a lot of. (9/10)

7. "VII" (8:48) the toms from song VI bleed into this one before another heavy full onslaught lights up the aural pathways. Once established, this quickly falls back to allow a spacious atmosphere in which Łukasz can deliver another of his masterful vocals. The pattern of heavy-Mirek riffing onslaught bridging the softer vocal sections is established until 3:40 when a slow arpeggiation of a guitar chord progression plays with synth and electric guitar sounds flitting in from behind. Chords of orchestral synth wash join in with more toms while Satomi delivers a brief solo. The music stays the same as Łukasz gives his best Marco impression. This is such gorgeous music. (9/10)

The YouTube sampler the band had posted to chum up potential investors left me unimpressed. I am SO glad I decided to return and become one of those investors once I found out how to secure it. I cannot repeat enough how emotional this music is, masterful in both composition and delivery. This is NOT the album I was expecting: Believe albums always seem to fall short of expectations and desires. Not this one. This is a sheer masterpiece of progressive rock music--one for the ages!

Five stars; a certifiable masterpiece of progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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