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Seventh Key - 2013 I Will Survive

ARTIST: Seventh Key
ALBUM: I Will Survive
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Billy Greer - bass, lead vocals * Mike Slamer - guitars, keyboards, programming * Chet Wynd - drums

Special Guests: David Manion - keyboards * David Ragsdale - violin * Billy Trudel, Terry Brock, Bobby Capps, Barry 'The Blade' Johnson - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Will Survive * 02 Lay It On The Line * 03 I See You There * 04 It's Just A State Of Mind * 05 Sea Of Dreams * 06 Time And Time Again * 07 When Love Sets You Free * 08 Down * 09 The Only One * 10 What Love's Supposed To Be * 11 I Want It All



Always a popular drawcard at GDM, Seventh Key have never failed to impress the regulars here with their music. So it proves again with the band's fourth album, even if it has been a long time between drinks. They've been a constant item on the Frontiers roster since 2000, and it's their first bit of music since 2005's 'Live In Atlanta' (CD and DVD video). There's not really a lot to say other than the usual superlatives. I don't need to gush over this; we've been talking about the album for a few weeks now. Sound wise, you get the feel of a full band like album, with keyboards and guitars working seamlessly, no real OTT soloing from Mike Slamer as such, just real cohesive songs that work well, and demand repeat plays into your busy daily schedule.

The Songs
You've probably seen the video for this. If not, it's included below. Keyboardist David Manion is the star of the show here. Some wicked organ and lead solo work evident here, plus the song grooves along on that time-displaced organ run, as if it were the 70's all over again. Great introduction.

'Lay It On The Line' is a seriously sharp rocker, the guitar/keyboard interaction at pre-chorus and chorus time is seamless. The solo section is bullet-like from Slamer, Manion and Wynd.

'I See You There' is an introspective tune, where love conquers time and distance. Mostly mellow with a hint of Slamer's other band Steelhouse Lane in the mix.

The SK boys turn it up a notch for the genuine rocker 'It's Just A State Of Mind', and they sound like they're having a bit of fun along the way.

'Sea Of Dreams' takes its sound from a combination of Kansas and Prophet thanks to the acoustic presence and of course David Ragsdale's lovely and poignant violin.

'Time And Time Again' is as smooth as it gets for Seventh Key, just well constructed AOR with not so much of the heaviness that this band can easily drum up.

The same could probably be said about 'When Love Sets You Free', a free moving melodic rocker.

'Down' slows up the action. Lyrically, this is in the same territory as Gamma's 'Razor King', a bad boy who's life unravels amid a blur of violence, the music is well matched with a darker side to it.

A change of pace and a whole heap of sunshine is what 'The Only One' is all about. It's the brightest and 'happiest' song of the set, and played at an up-tempo speed.

'What Love's Supposed To Be' is another Kansas like moment. A stirring chorus which really is Topeka's finest personified, Ragsdale's violin again to the fore, but it's more than just that sole instrument which provides the comparison. Take a listen and I'm sure many of you will know what I mean.

The finale 'I Want It All' features a huge vocal acapella introduction that truly is the highlight of the song. I love the musical cut and thrust on show here, which translates to stop/start moments with only micro seconds of breathing space. Then the chorus arrives, acapella in tow, and you know this is a pretty cool track!

In Summary
No disappointments here for me, and they are the sort of band you just have to grab everything they release. To add to the overall package, the cover art is sci-fi sensational (sort of like a stargate with chevron dials), and I enjoyed the couple of YouTube clips that came with the pre-release too. Billy Greer still sounds great among the elder statesmen of melodic rock, and with partner in crime Mike Slamer, these guys could be producing music for years to come. Long may it continue.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 11 2013 04:48:41
Seventh Key - 2013 I Will Survive
YouTube Video:

Or Direct to YouTube: YouTube Video:
#2 | george_the_jack on November 12 2013 16:39:08
As we were all expecting this is exquisite stuff. World class music all the way from start to finish and a great follow up to the perfection of the 2 previous Seventh Key efforts. Perhaps this one is not so immediate as its predecessors were, as it bares some really ''progressive'' moments which are, of course, made with class and quality.

Needless to say it goes straight to the top of my list for 2013 along with the Houston album. Again, this was something I was expecting to happen from the very beginning I heard there was a new Seventh Key in the making. However, I'm still in the process of discovering its inner qualities as it's a multidimensional and very rich listen from every aspect: Multi-layered arrangements, lyrics, musicianship, production are all of the highest order! To be honest, I couldn't expect anything less than that from these masters.

In my book ''What love's supposed to be'' is one of the very few world class arrangements of the last 10-15 years. It's in the same league of 'Jaded'' by Slamer from 2006 or ''Nowhere without your love'' by Mastedon released some 4 years ago. I know I have picked 2-3 songs from the new Houston album which I nominated best AOR songs of the modern day and I still feel this way but this song lies far and beyond the AOR boundaries. This type of songs turn out to timeless numbers from the first time you play them and...damn... you always know it in that same moment!
#3 | jeffrey343 on November 14 2013 04:51:58
Definitely one of the best albums to come around in a while, as expected. It was actually pretty immediate for me, as I prepped for it by listening to the first two albums and other similar stuff. Nothing but class on display here.

I think we'll all have our favorites on here - for me, they are (currently, at least) "I See You There", "Time And Time Again", and "When Love Sets You Free". I gotta say that "Sea Of Dreams" works surprisingly well. Usually a song like that will destroy an album's momentum, but not in this case. Kudos to these guys for pulling that off. It is different enough to ensure that the album is in no danger of heading to sameyville but does not mess with the flow.

I do hear some familiar motifs in places here. I don't mind - I kind of consider them to be like inside jokes. I hear shades of "Higher Ground" from the Slamer album in "Down", and I hear similarities in "Time And Time Again" to "Face In The Crowd" from Terry Brocks' "Diamond Blue" album (featuring Mr. Slamer, of course). Slamer has a distinctive sound for sure.

Definitely a highlight of the year for me, and one that will be played a lot over the next several years.
#4 | swazi on November 25 2013 21:47:35
Spinning right now .. AWESOME!!!!
#5 | gdazegod on November 25 2013 21:49:49
Still getting airplay on my Galaxy Note 2..!
#6 | richardb on December 19 2013 20:59:52
Agree with all of the above comments - then again I very rarely disagree with what you say George (except when it's politics - just kidding!).

An excellent album which has been on constant CD playback over the last few days. It sure beats the usual Xmas compilation CD fare that normally gets played in our household this time of year - lol!

Thumbs Up
#7 | melodiapositiva on December 14 2017 19:53:54
Again the old men doing it better than the majority of new bands of nowadays .Greer and Slamer are pure class and elegance making music,and what to tell about those great backing vocals ," ill see you there" is amazing ! and why billy greer isnt the lead singer on kansas is still a mistery to me,hes better than the new guy and hes been for 30 years in the band,he deserves it!

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