Seventh Key - The Raging Fire

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMA 2077-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:04:00

When it comes to AOR, these guys are the real thing - and pretenders and newcomers to the genre should pay close attention.

Seventh Key is a project of Billy Greer, who -until now - was best known for his tenure in Kansas where he has played bass and sung backup vocals since 1986. The Raging Fire is Seventh Key's second album, and given Greer's background it's inevitable that these songs carry plenty of Kansas references. The singing and the two-part choruses are strikingly similar to Kansas, and Greer's vocal delivery is comfortable, competent, and remarkably close to a younger if less-inspired Steve Walsh. This album is song-oriented and less progressive than Kansas, calling to mind bands like Journey, Survivor, Foreigner or Styx. The 11 tracks run from 4- to 6-minutes, and the CD's 58 minutes are augmented by two bonus videos.

Joining Greer apparently in the role of junior partner is Mike Slamer, who played lead guitar and keyboards and handled production. His background includes City Boy, Steelhouse Lane and Streets - which also featured Greer. Slamer's production is near perfect, his keyboards are competent, and his guitar work is simply wonderful. In fact Slamer's numerous guitar solos alone would easily justify the purchase of this record.

And that is the irony about The Raging Fire. It is Greer's project, but to my mind, Slamer is the star.

All of the songs feature strong vocal melodies with great hooks, and the songwriting is solid if somewhat straightforward. Standouts for me were the title track and the emotional "Winds Of War".

As with most AOR there isn't a huge amount of variety from song to song. Every track is very well done, radio-friendly, and could stand alone as a single. But after playing all 11 tracks back to back I was reaching into my collection for something more progressive.

Seventh Key is - quite simply - excellent AOR. No less. And no more.

The Sun Will Rise (4:37) / Always From The Heart (5:11) / You Cross The Line (6:47) / An Ocean Away (4:29) / The Raging Fire (5:59) / Sin City (5:08) / It Should Have Been You (5:25) / Run (4:17) / Pyramid Princess (5:18) / Winds Of War (6:05) / Bonus Track: Remember You Well (4:57) / Bonus Multimedia Tracks: Always From The Heart ? Video / Video Interview With Billy Greer and Mike Slamer

Billy Greer - Lead vocals, bass Mike Slamer -Guitars, Keyboards, Bass Jamie Thompson - Drums Terry Brock - Backing Vocals

Seventh Key (2001)
The Raging Fire (2004)

Genre: Melodic Rock-AOR

Origin US

Added: June 7th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 778
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]