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Seventh Key The Raging Fire Frontiers Records
FRCD 176
· Produced By: Mike Slamer

· Running Time: 53.34

· Release Date: February 9

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock

· Links: Billy Greer Frontiers
98%
Songs: 96%
Sound: 100%
Seventh Key is Kansas bassist Billy Greer and Streets/Steelhouse Lane founder/producer/guitarist Mike Slamer.
This is their second album and to get right to the point, is better than the debut in every way. This sensational slice of pure melodic hard rock features better songs, better production, better arrangement and best of all, one hell of a vocal performance from Billy Greer.
The debut album was fabulous in its own right, but like all follow-ups, an artist must strive to improve and that has indeed been done. Any fan of the debut is going to be well impressed with this release.
The one detail on the debut that I didn't warm to as much was Billy's vocals. It might have been the fact that the album was the next from Slamer to follow the utterly essential Steelhouse Lane Slaves Of The New World album, which featured awesome vocalist Keith Slack.
On The Raging Fire, Billy's performance comes close to that of Slack's.
There is increased warmth in his voice, increased strength and a real conviction it the delivery. There are some spine tingling moments on this album, which shows the partnership between Greer and Slamer really maturing.
Mike Slamer's guitar style and production sound has always been detectable, but over the course of the two Steelhouse Lane albums and now two Seventh Key albums it has become legendary.
The Raging Fire contains all the tricks expected – a deep, full sound - worthy of any major label release - coupled with layers of harmonies and bombastic time changes, bridges and the all important over the top choruses. And don't for get guitar solos – there are some awe inspiring solos throughout the record – another testament to Slamer's ability.
Track By Track:
What better way to open any album than a guitar fuelled uptempo rocker? The Sun Will Rise is exactly that – a perfect pump your fist in the air, harmony filled, feel good rocker. Nice also to hear a big guitar solo right in the middle, before the song wastes no more time in getting back to the chorus.
Always From The Heart starts slow, with Billy's vocals floating over a soft acoustic intro. The song builds in mood and tempo and bursts into a huge high-tech fill which leads into another memorable hands-in-the-air chorus. It's one of the album's most commercial tracks and very reminiscent of the debut.
You Cross The Line is an interesting track. This is one of those great Slamer production moments when the melodic rock envelope is pushed a little harder than usual. This is a dark and moody track which starts softly, but explodes into a fired-up rocker with another bridge-to-chorus hook combo which delivers the knockout punch.
An Ocean Away is a simpler uptempo rocker with a cool lead guitar riff and a strong vocal. The chorus flows easily and is slightly more melodic than the tone of the overall track. Another highly memorable and enjoyable track.
The Raging Fire is another less than straight ahead track – clocking in at 6 minutes and featuring a dark moody vibe to it also. The verse is rather haunting, with an eerie piano "riff" adding to the feel. The relatively short chorus features some tough guitar riffs.
Sin City returns to the straight ahead feel of the opening track and An Ocean Away. A simple, guitar driven rocker which balances the quirky tracks perfectly.
It Should Have Been You is the album's only real ballad proper. The track has the vibe of a classic Foreigner ballad, with a moody verse, layers of keyboards and harmony vocals and a heartfelt anthem chorus which would sound at home on any good rock radio station.
Run is a classic style hard rocker with Def Leppard-ish production and Eddie Van Halen lead guitar sound. Mix that with a little Steelhouse Lane and you get the picture. However, it's not the album's best chorus.
Pyramid Princess is an epic styled hard rocker, also with a dark edge, but a huge production job that includes some bombastic drum passages and a high-impact chorus. One of the more dramatic songs of the album.
Winds of War is another slow to start track. I really like the way these guys build the songs and this is no different. It starts slow, but through the 6 minutes plus, builds to quite a tasty rocker.
The Bottom Line
A great melodic hard rock record – no more no less. Perfectly produced by Slamer, who adds enough bells and whistles to make it interesting and sometimes challenging to the general ethos of what a melodic rock record should sound like.
However, every note on this album was written and recorded to please the fans and I believe they have done that with some outstanding songs and inspired performances. Terry Brock adds backing vocals, which give the harmonies even more depth.
A brilliant album that will please just about everybody.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Seventh Key
· The Raging Fire

Line Up
· Billy Greer: Vocals, Bass
· Mike Slamer: Guitar, Keyboards
· Jamie Thompson: Drums
· Terry Brock: Backing Vocals

Essential for fans of:
· Steelhouse Lane
· Kansas
· Def Leppard
Track Listing
· The Sun Will Rise*
· Always From The Heart*
· You Cross The Line*
· An Ocean Away*
· The Raging Fire
· Sin City
· It Should Have Been You*
· Run
· Pyramid Princess
· Winds of War
· Always From The Heart (video)
--*Best Tracks


23/05/05: Rafael Chavarria A. - drums9@racsa.co.cr
Rating: 100
Just amazing...mile slamer`s playing and production is flawless and billy greer`s voice is better than ever...jamie thompson on drums provides a great base to the music...incredible, inspirational music...keep it up!!

18/02/05: Kenneth M - kennethm@sympatico.ca
Rating: 98
Well, I thoroughly agree with Andrew on this one, it is a perfect piece of melodic hard rock. Ranking with the best of 2004 (although I feel "Sin City" and the bonus track "Storm Rages On" are the superior tracks on this album). Mike Slammer & Billy Greer smoke on this release. The strength of songs, mastery of production and vibe being carried off here are tremendous... This is an essential release for any and all that love classic hard rock with complimentary vocal harmonies and pure passion for the project and product.
I am so pleased that this did not get forgotten (as many early year releases often do) when it came time for the annual awards... Great job guys!!!

01/02/05: Erik - erikhardam@hetnet.nl
Rating: 95
The debut album was great but this is even better. The music is a joy to listen to. Classic rock but brought up to date. Great singing, depth in the songs and awesome backing guitar solos. Greer, Slammer and Thompson are hopefully there to stay and to bring us much more of gems like this. Brilliant album !

29/07/04: Ian - Watsoni10@aol.com
Rating: 95
Put simply AWESOME.Billy sings his heart out and as for Mike,fans old and new will not be disappointed.Sublime second album,definitely one of the best of the year.

24/06/04: guillermo - guillerperez@usuariosretecal.es
Rating: 85
UN buen album aunque se hace algo dificil de abrirse hueco entre tanta oferta.

21/06/04: Big Mike - bigmike@hotmail.com
Rating: 65
This is a good album. The first 4 tracks are great tunes and there's a few more solid tracks on here aswell. I wouldn't compare the song writing to TNT's my religion however, that's definitely a better album, but some of the hooks and melodies on the first tracks here are top notch. good work boys, I'll definitely take a look at the next album. note a few different track downloads are available at rocktracks.de

26/05/04: Chewsmoka - chewsmoka@yahoo.com
Rating: 85
Wow, I didn't see this one coming. " It Should Have Been You" is in the running for song of the year! Anyone who says this is a letdown of not good, well please go back to listening to your new Gene Simmons "A-hole" CD, and maybe his album is what does it for you. " Always From The Heart" come is second, and with the exception of one or two tracks, it'd a near classic

25/05/04: Ivan - jack_@abv.bg
Rating: 100
This is for me one of The Best Albums of 2004.Amazing songs-congratulation to all members of this incredible band.

20/05/04: CUTTER - cutter33_us@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
Well i just got the CD in the mail and it is as great as i thought the samples made it sound. Majestic rock for all lovers of good melodic hard rock. This band has that royaltie of rock sound going for them and should appeal to alot of adults who are into the classic rock sound but i think the kiddies would dig this too if they had a chance to hear it, awsome record.

11/04/04: Jonny B - froloth@hotmail.com
Rating: 85
The new Seventh Key is very reminiscent of the second Steelhouse Lane album. After two great rockers, there are several tracks (a couple clocking at 6 minutes) where, as Andrew mentioned, start off really slow then build to a decent guitar-driven bridge/chorus. I believe that 98 is too much for this album; it's too eerie of the second Steelhouse Lane...but without the greatness that Keith Slack's voice brought to the table. (I've always liked Billy Greer with Kansas, but I MISS Keith Slack's voice on Mike Slamer's music!) That said, I've ranked this one behind Steelhouse Lane and gave Seventh Key an 85. An overall solid effort, but let's face it, I'd like to see Steelhouse Lane return.

04/04/04: Almir Fuschini - almirfus@terra.com.br
Rating: 100
I agree with all the reviewers below when they say that Mike Slammer "rocks". They're absolutely right! A great composer, guitar player, arranger and producer. What a great album. Songs for every taste and over the top production. The only thing hard to swallow is that we never hear jewels like this cd on the mass midia in general. Like a good Man said once "Forgive them Father, they don't know what they're doing" (or something like that). Now Mike, what about the new Steelhouse Lane album?
We want more!

02/04/04: Dan MacDonald - dan_mac62@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
Killer ! get it ! Mike Slamer is a genius !,probably the best & fattest rythm guitar sound ever,I buy anything with his name/production on it,sounds more like" Steelhouse Lane " then the last 7th Key.

31/03/04: Mark - mark@wyse583.freeserve.co.uk
Rating: 90
A hugely enjoyable record. Mike Slamer is an absolutely fantastic guitar player fusing elements of Eddie Van Halen and Neal Schon with his own very distinctive style. Mike is also a terrific songwriter and one of the best producers around - period. Put him together with Billy Greer, (anyone who is part of Kansas must be good!!) and you get an amazing amalgam of the pomp rock of Kansas and the almost peerless AOR that Mike Slamer seems to write with ease, (just listen to Steelhouse Lane and Streets if you don't believe me). "The Sun Will Rise" is my vote for song of 2004; if anything comes along better than this, I will be very surprised. Billy Greer really shines on all the songs, but in particular on this track - he is a world-class vocalist. The guitar solo on this song is Van Halen all over and it is great to hear someone shredding!! I just don't ever want this song to end, with the uplifting and positive message - brilliant!! "Always From The Heart" is a slab of primetime AOR and combines very Journey-like melodies with a Steelhouse Lane edge. "You Cross The Line" is very moody and the guitar riff that appears a few minutes into this innovatively arranged track will really impress - great stuff!! "An Ocean Away" is another terrific AOR song with a brilliant lead guitar riff that again demonstrates why Mike Slamer is a superstar guitarist of the highest quality. My second favorite track is "Pyramid Princess" with the superb "Kashmir"-like riff really blowing the cobwebs away!! All in all this is a really terrific album for AOR lovers, guitar lovers and anyone who likes good rock music. Oh and Terry Brock adds background vocals............. Reach for that credit card and buy!!

07/03/04: Hysteria - hysteria@chello.nl
Rating: 8
Sure this is a great album, vocals are superb and the production is top. First 2 songs are jewels!. But i have to say that their are to many average songs on this one.

04/03/04: CUTTER - cutter33_us@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
What i have heard so far online of this album is PERFECT. Greers voice is/was the sound of KANSAS in my book and Mike Slammer can do NO wrong, he is without a doubt THEE KING of Melodic Rock/Metal!! I can't wait to get this lp. P.S The production on this is flawless!! 100

03/03/04: Mike Goble - mikegoble@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
My full review is waiting for the CD itself, but a CD-R of website samples edited together from Billygreer.com and Melodicrock.com is getting heavy rotation in my car, and even that is one of my favorite albums! This rocks, no questions asked.

27/02/04: Timbo - shut67@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
Excellent. No other word can describe this album.
C'mon on Andrew, give it that extra 2%. You know it deserves it.

26/02/04: freddy de keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 89
Another fantastic record. Together with Shadow Man, Final Frontier and Dakota on top one of the very best release of the new year ! But it's not difficult to see why this is so great : Billy has a strong voice, Terry is there to help and we have also the mighty Mike Slamer ! This is not the new Streets (Streets was and still is on a higher level, classic !), but it is damned close and a MUST HAVE !

24/02/04: Craig Bishop - bisho72@optushome.com.au
Rating: 96
Without a doubt, the first impressive release of 2004 which will be hard to beat! Very reminicent of Slamer's past project - Steelhouse Lane. The only let down is the ballad "It Should Have Been You". Would have been better off to include the Japanese bonus track "Love Train" and have no ballad at all.

Essential!!!!

14/02/04: Ginger - stevanski@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
"Thunder, lightning, rolling on forever
Still their spirits linger on and on
You can hear the thunder, lightning,
and for all eternity,
They'll walk the stone cold halls of
that ancient rectory".
Absolutely glorious, over the top melodic rock. This is one album that no self respecting mr/aor fan should be without.Stand out tracks for me are: 'You Cross The Line', 'Sin City' and the utterly fantastic 'Pyramid Princess'.A classic.

13/02/04: Tom Wendel - twendel@telia.com
Rating: 100
This Is great It΄s like getting a new SREETS album !!!
Great vocals from the bass player great songs and Mr Slammer Is awesome, probably on of the top 3 albums of 2004.
Billy rules !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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