Florida’s become the U.S. home for burgeoning power metal bands, and one of its rising talents is Seven Kingdoms. This fall the band released its third album, The Fire Is Mine, which finds the band further refining its signature and establishing its voice.
Power metal is a magnificent genre though too often, even the best bands such as Blind Guardian, Helloween and Hammerfall, have been guilty of building wondrous melodies and sharp musical performances while neglecting the hooks that make the music memorable rather than simply enjoyable. Seven Kingdoms has a knack for adding that extra element which brings all the glory of power metal together with the catchiness of traditional metal. While discussing the band’s songwriting process, developing that “catchiness” is something founder and guitarist Camden Cruz says they work diligently on:
“The song always comes first. Once the song is done we’ll figure out the melodies then just try to find the catchiest and most memorable lines for the part. Really it’s just what riffs come and when moments of inspiration hit you, you just have to take advantage of that. That’s all we do. I spent nights just combing those parts–we all did really–and that’s one thing you’ve gotta have. People have to think it’s catchy. They have to wake up humming it. They’ve gotta wake up singing it, even if they don’t like it. That’s what our goal is. (laughs) It’s an infection.”
The Fire Is Mine is the band’s second album to feature vocalist Sabrina Valentine, and it is her voice that helps set Seven Kingdoms apart from other power metal outfits. She does not hail from the traditional rock vein of vocal influence, which adds depth and dimension to her style. In fact it was not until she connected with Cruz that she even discovered the epic magic of power metal:
“You can probably tell by my singing that I’m not the normal female [metal] singer. My background has come from bluegrass and gospel style, so for a long time Alison Krauss was one of my favorite singers, then I moved to Sarah McLachlan… I’d never in my whole entire life heard any kind of metal until I met Camden. Then I instantly fell in love with Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia). I think he is–not only is he short (laughs) but he’s got a massively powerful voice. Then I heard Blind Guardian and my mind was blown; and then Hammerfall, just amazing. Every time I hear something new, I’m like ‘Oh my God’. So it’s an ongoing process for me. All I can say is that there’s some amazing singers out there and I can’t wait to hear them all.”
Camden shared his view on where the new album is relative to the previous release self-titled release from 2009/2010:
“[The Fire is Mine] is more together. It’s more focused. I think it’s the best representation of who we are so far. This is the first record where we were able to nail everything we really wanted to nail on it. But I’m excited for the next [album] already (laughs).”
You can listen to the entire interview below as Cam and Sabrina talk about ProgPower USA 2012, their influences, their favorite power metals bands, favorite album of 2012, and much, much more.