Death metal debutants deliver concise report on cardinal sins.
While it would be simple to assume “VII” is this Thessaloniki trio’s seventh offering, their first record’s titular numeral signifies a concept of deadly sins – a logical, if hardly original, concept for a metal ensemble – each represented by a separate piece. As a result, what the players call en EP turned out to be a full-length, if short, album that’s easy on the ear, even though the heaviness feels relentless and Elias “E2” Elias’ rustling voice renders lyrics rather indecipherable.
There’s solemnity to drive “Lust” towards orchestral grandeur, yet it’s only an intro which E2’s guitars and basses pierce with melodic riffage for “Gluttony” to unfold an infectious groove, with Angel G’s ivories smearing molasses over Kostas Matis’s drums, making choruses extremely catchy – veering between filigree and grind. While choirs add an oratorio layer to “Greed” where shredding reigns supreme, the trio rock hard before loosening their grip for “Sloth” whose epic transparency and misty romanticism can grate a bit, but internal variety – including six-string solo and cymbals’ whoosh – will keep the cut afloat.
Following up with the frequencies-challenged “Wrath” that roars much longer than one’s eager to hear, the band bare their superficial side and even ballad passages can’t conceal this aspect of it all… or it’s just a way to experience the sins firsthand? The acoustic thread in “Envy” may contrast the track’s message until the tuneful fat is stripped away, whereas the multi-faceted, über-melodic “Pride” seals the concept thanks to a true-to-life implementation of the record’s subject matter. As impressive a debut as it gets, “VII” must put the Greeks on metal map and let them get away with the scene created here.