So for this, Seventh Veils second long player since their breakthrough only two years ago, there have been some personnel changes. This hasn’t affected the momentum the band have been gaining and with Vox Animee they seem to have honed their style even further. Hailing from Verona, Italy (great city if you ever get the chance to go) Seventh Veil are one of the bands helping to define hard rock for a new generation and Vox Animee is only going to cement this further.
I love a bit of atmosphere built into the production of an album. When we used to self-produce our own work we were always keen to make the song almost an event in itself. So, a bit like Slayers Repentless released earlier this year I am always happy to hear an instrumental intro into any album. This is great, half sound effects reminiscent of Tomb Raider and an atmospheric and well-coordinated orchestra start which builds to a crescendo before first track proper “Devil In Your Soul” kicks in. It’s a great intro as well, the sort of instrumental you hear on a tv drama, sweeping and melodramatic. “Devil in Your Soul” is the perfect choice of song to follow, the opening chords of the song, suits the theme and tone of the intro well, a great metal riff. The vocals are classic hard rock and the song reminds me of the great period in the late 80’s / 90’s where this type of band did so well. Very reminiscent at first of White Lion.
I personally never have a problem with bands sounding like earlier periods, styles or even directly comparable to earlier bands. I can think of many examples these days where the band playing the music now were not even alive when the bands they are being compared to were playing. So if anything I welcome these new takes and re-energised versions.
As you probably know by now, I am a sucker for added production work on an album, so the Queensryche style, spoken voice in the middle of “Devil in Your Soul” is always welcome. Great opening track as it really has everything you want from this type of song, catchy chorus, classic well played solo and mention of Devils.
“Living Dead” is another great example of this, starting with a solo that would not have gone a miss on a Def Leppard or Whitesnake album. The lyrics are a little more understated but come across as very earnest. Lorenzo ‘Steven’ Bertasi, on lead vocals, has a great range easily sifting through that vocal range in a line or two. ‘This is the life I wanted for myself, the life I deserve. We want to be beautiful outside but we are living dead inside’
In many ways Vox Animee reminds me of the new Def Leppard album. Great songs on the trot like “Together Again”, that just rock, are very catchy, have great solos. All the ingredients are there. Often though the greatest moments of an album come when the band try something a little different and in Seventh Veils case it’s the ballad, which is made only more poignant as it is a tribute to the singers Dad. “Song for M” is a small interlude to introduce “Dad”. “Dad” itself is a heartfelt song, and feel very personal; ‘I remember your smile.’ Sometimes songs like this just work when they are this earnest. Musically it classic hard rock balladry, with quiet reflective verses building into a raw and emotional chorus. Again very much a nod towards White Lion and in familiar White Lion territory as this was when they were at their best.
“Begging For Mercy” also goes down this same route this time however it is the guitars solo and riffs at the beginning of the song that set the tone and mixed with a great vocal melody that quickly reaches the chorus. I challenge you not to join in the chorus. Again it reminds you of bands gone past, there is a touch of Skid Row about this song on its quieter moments.
With “No Pain No Gain”, we are presented a rockier side to the album. Rhythmically the strong use of the drum and guitar patterns are reminiscence of AC/DC but the song itself, is a little bit more dark, dirty and raw. Thankfully it also delivers in terms of its guitar solo.
I may have mentioned plenty of influences through this review but they really are only a nod toward those earlier periods. Seventh Veil on Vox Animae have been able to embrace that period and style but create an album which is entirely their own and sounds like a complete piece of work. Fans of those bands should definitely check them out as this is band starting to rise and to claim the hard rock crown of the 21st century.
Vox Animae is released on February 5th, 2016