For a band that has been around for around seven years and are so well traveled, I really expected more from “Devour” that what is actually on the CD. The guitars on the disc sound tinny, and the sequencing of the instrumental and vocal parts isn’t spotless. “Abuse Me” has some interesting strides in the amount of body and general sound that Seven 13 has taken from earlier rock tracks, placing them firmly in the ground of the hallowed sound of 70s hard rock bands. The ambition of the band should not be faulted; the sheer ability of Seven 13 to put together something remotely coherent from their 5 instrument-playing members shows a strength not found in many current rock bands. And still, there are some places where Seven 13 is lacking, specifically during some of Greg’s singing. The raspy nature of eir’s singing is a standard in epic ballads and progressive metal, but there are times, such as in “Closer to the Edge”, that Court just over-exerts eirself.
Reminiscent of the piano line from “Right Now”, Seven 13 begins off their EP with the self-titled track. The guitars on the aforementioned track are a little on the clichéd side, but I wonder if they were more original, that they would possibly detract from the piano line chugging through the song. What really raises this song from the depths of forgotten-ness would have to be the very epic, Queensryche-esque guitar solo in the second half of the song. By far, though, the best track on “Devour” would have to be “No Apology”, the only time on the disc where the rich depths of multi-part harmony, the staggered vocals of Brian and Court really compliment each other. The guitars on the track may seem a little on the canned side, but the sheer brilliance of the harmony is what sells the band on this track.
Seven 13 is a band that has a lot of individual strengths, but some weaknesses that come through fairly loudly in the music. Their dependence on some tired guitar lines is a major issue I can come up with about the band, but overall, the band is a delight to listen to. Lets hope that some of the shine that Seven 13 puts into their rich vocalizations rub off on the guitar work, and maybe we can get a band that is the equivalent in talent to someone like Blind Guardian.
Top Track: No Apology
Seven 13 – Devour / 5 Tracks / 2004 What Matters Records / http://www.coven13.com / Reviewed 23 March 2004