Review Summary: Unbecoming.
Before Tommy Karevik was selected as Roy Khan's heir, Seventh Wonder were little more than an obscure band. They still are, unfortunately; and if we head further back (to 2005), we'd see them entering the scene with little more than mild celebration. Heavy metal debut albums, however, aren't always the best indicators of a band's future. These initial LP's typically amount to a means of formal introduction, and all a band can do in the meantime is hope they grab a few fans along the way. In Seventh Wonder's case, their initial list of talents had Andi Kravljaca of Silent Call on vocals for the release of Become
, an album which showcased a number of qualities we'd hear on subsequent releases, but with less efficiency.
One song is all it takes to gauge Become
's direction--take your pick of eight. At their core, Seventh Wonder are a progressive metal band, which shows more in song structure than track length. That said, power metal influences creep into their music as well, primarily extending to the over-the-top instrumental nature and, in the case of future endeavors, potent vocal performances (more on that later). One of the more curious players is bassist Andreas Blomqvist. An endearing quality of Seventh Wonder's music has been how they emphasize the thick-stringed guitar, which Blomqvist justifies with every performance. His work on Become
is no exception, even if the rest of the band aren't quite prime for the ensuing course. Doubling the number of Andreas, Soderin's keyboards are a more enigmatic example of Seventh Wonder's musicianship. We do hear a Mercy Falls
-esque foreshadowing during "The Secret," but a number of listeners will hear the pompously tuned instrument and see it as a staked boundary, which is easier to understand when accounting the bouncy notes with Become
's limited production. The mixing feels all over the place, with "The Damned"'s bass and off-key opening being one of the more immediate examples. It also feels like the bass and electric guitars switch places for prominence at times. As I mentioned, this is hardly a detriment, but it does make for a peculiar listening.
Speaking of which, I've left the issue of pre-Karevik vocals unaddressed. Andi Kravjaca took over for a few years after a brief run by Ola Halen of Shadow's Past. And while Kravljaca's voice isn't a constant nuisance, he does feel like a caught anchor stubbornly holding the entire ship back. Unfortunately, the forgettable-when-not-worrisome vocals come to characterize the entire album; Become
clumsily dances and simply struggles to leave a lasting impression, be it per track or as a whole. The comparison may be as tired as an episode of The Osbournes
, but Seventh Wonder's debut feels like their own When Dream and Day Unite
. To be clear, Become
is a more enjoyable affair, but as is the case with Dream Theater, non-diehards have very little to gain from seeking it out.