With most instrumental releases, especially in metal, there is so often a bias to the instrumentation of its creator or the composer of the pieces. This can work or not depending on personal appetites for the leading element, so it was with extra intrigue that the Aion I EP from progressive metal band Seven Year Storm was allowed to take ears in its creative hands. The band is the solo project of Canadian Sean Lang, a Vancouver-based freelance drummer / instructor who until now has been contented to keep his music compositions restrained just to song writing. Thanks to pressure/support from friends, Lang was finally persuaded and encouraged to record and release his music and a fascinating treat it is turning out to be.
The first thing to thrill and please is that there is no leaning to a particular instrument with Lang’s compositions; yes songs are potently rhythm driven but in tandem with just as dramatically skilled and voraciously creative elements across guitar and bass. This could have been a top heavy and certainly an unbalanced proposition in the hands of some but upon Aion I, every imagination coloured and skilfully sculpted landscape is a thoughtful and inventive equilibrium. Solely written and produced by Lang, the EP sees him link up with guitarist Dean Lamb(Archspire), whose fingers are surely possessed by the devil at times, and bassist Brent MacKenzie, the provider of the dark emotions and shadows which also superbly balance and temper the fiery side of the release.
Morphogenesis opens up the EP, keys an immediate warm lure tenderly coaxing attention whilst also brewing up a sonically misty atmosphere. It is not long before a turbulent climate hits the scene though, snapping rhythms aligning to snarling riffs snarl and subsequently a melodic blaze cast by Lamb. There is a swift visual suggestiveness to the music too, a cinematic incitement which only grows as keys and guitar entwined inventively around the precise yet unpredictable patterns of Lang. Essences of classic rock, jazz, and technical vivacity spice up the progressive emprise, the track as the beats growing into a wonderfully fascinating and perpetually evolving creative theatre.
The dramatic and invigorating opener is followed by the classically seeded Dyatlov, the track bringing a more intimate narrative to its canvas whilst still expanding into another broad movie of sound and evocative enterprise. Tenacious flames collude with calm passages of melodic elegance and stirring almost sinister ascents of drama, as the music again explores new avenues of imagination and inventive twists. As its predecessor and those to follow, the track does not really end sounding as it began, but like a child is still the same heart just with growth evolving its character.
A celestial charm embraces Virtue next, the song a mesmeric soar across a summery climate within which Lang prowls and directs the adventure like a conductor with his exhausting and exhilarating swings whilst MacKenzie adds a throaty growl to the djent like jaggedness of riffs. Into its rich and slightly tempestuous stride, a haunting calm and melodic beauty suddenly descends, a gothic breath spiced by the noir lit vaudeville of keys a gripping twist backed by Lamb’s increasing transfixing invention. The unpredictable treat is a union of light and dark, much as its successor Nazca Lines. The following piece is an emotionally agitated but as now expected fluid exploration through heavier and darker investigations entangled with bewitching flames of light.
Blue Car Syndrome brings the EP to an impressive close, again all three musicians spinning an explosive and fiercely imaginative web of sound and ideation. As all tracks, it is as separate an individual as it is a part of one massive sonic travelogue of melodic and dramatic realms, emotionally and physically. It is fair to say that our words do not do justice to the skills of the band, the ravenous theatre of the songwriting, and the sheer strength and diversity of the sounds within Aion I. The first of two EPs planned this year, the final thought is to thank those supporting Lang and hope they continue to inspire him to release further triumphs like this.
The Aion I EP is available now digitally and on CD @ http://sevenyearstorm.bandcamp.com/
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