After six years, the very talented Norwegian band Seven Impale are back with their third full length album “Summit.” One reason for the delay is that their keyboardist Håkon Vinje joined Enslaved and has recorded 3 albums with them. Other members finished school and had kids. Life happens. The good news is that the band never broke up. They mix a very technical ability with a fondness for old school prog and jazz without sounding derivative. Quite an accomplishment in this day and age.
Soundwise they mix old King Crimson with Van der Graaf Generator with the jazz leanings of each. PLUS the band don’t shy away from metal either. With a member in Enslaved, why wouldn’t they incorporate that as well. Their first two albums were “City of the Sun” and “Contrapasso” with the former being a bit more prog and the latter being more jazz. I found “Contrapasso” to be a bit too overthought. “Summit” does a nice job of mixing their various influences. Previously things seemed more separated: this is the Crimson spot, this is the gentle prog slot and this is the jazzier part. They have had time to not only write 4 epic tracks but mature as writers and performers.
“Summit” is the sound of a band fulfilling its potential. Transitions are smoother and they still attack each song with the creativity they’ve always had! The album kicks off with “Hunter” which begins with Vinje on piano. A nice quiet start before he alludes to the oncoming onslaught. The power of Seven Impale unleashed. It’s got that slinky VDGG vibe. Eventually things go completely insane midway thru and then of course revert back. It’s a good reminder of everything this band is capable of. A lot.
Next is “Hydra” which has a more wide open feel to it. “Hunter” being more…malevolent. “Hydra” has a great groove to it which is of course bound to go on a tangent. Spoiler alert. It does. It has some really cool parts but does keep finding its groove. A great track. The first song released from the album is “Ikaros.” The song is bombastic and heavy, and quite vast sounding. It’s an interesting choice as the song the band chose to release since it might be the most complex and downright perplexing at times. But then, that’s Seven Impale. The album closes with “Sisyphos” which vocally reminds me of Vulture Industries. The use of static in the track, while commendable, is one of the misses for me. It’s a bit annoying. But overall, this is a good close to an epic album.
The good thing about Seven Impale is they have one foot in modern day prog and the other one firmly in the classic prog world. This is a band that should appeal to fans who want to be challenged by their prog. Seven Impale have never written music to be popular or played on any radio. “Summit” is the sound of a young band arriving at their current creative summit and having a look around. Time to scale the sonic mountain with them!
Label: Karisma Records
Release Date: May 26, 2023
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