Right, to say that I’d been looking forward to this one is a slight understatement. Ever since I first heard their debut album Synesthesia, South Wales’ natives Blue Gillespie have been firmly lodged in the upper echelons of my “best bands” list. It’s not often that an album genuinely blows you away from the first listen, but it’s fair to say that Synesthesia did exactly that to me.
Fast forward to 2012 and the band are getting ready to unleash the follow-up on an ever increasing, and slightly fanatical, fanbase. The first indication of what was in store came out a few months back in the form of the single “Act V : Grim Determination”. Now at the time I described this as “one of the most exciting things I’ve heard this year”, and if it was something that sounded impressive in isolation I had the feeling that in order to get it’s full impact it would need to be heard in the context of the full album.
Well, I was right…
The Seven Rages Of Man concept is explored across 13 tracks of charged, progressive heavy metal spanning 60 minutes. The structure of the album is inspired by Shakespeare’s seven ages speech from As You Like it. Besides the Shakespearean influence there are also elements of Greek Tragedy, Mythology and Modern Philosophy all bound together by a single, simple, concept. The exploration of human rage.
The album is divided into a Prologue, the Seven Acts, and an Epilogue. The acts themselves include phases such as Effervescent Youth, Impiety and the aforementioned Grim Determination (which, incidentally, “scores the frustrated and panic driven years leading to middle age”).
When I listened to this album for the first time I must admit it did not have the immediate grabbing-of-the-attention that Synesthesia managed, nothing as immediate as Making Sound or Fingered here.
Nope, Seven Rages Of Man doesn’t give up it’s secrets that easily.
Instead it challenges you to invest time and emotion in understanding it’s subtlety and nuance, and if you do then the rewards are indeed great. The most obvious impression you get at first is that of anger, the titular rage directed at Parents, Peers, the rest of the world and, eventually, Inwardly with the regrets of opportunities missed and chances not taken.
“I had so many dreams, now they’re fucked”.
This is an album that takes you on as emotional a journey as any I have ever heard. the passion that frontman Gareth David Lloyd pours into the performance is so powerful it occasionally crosses over into the genuinely disconcerting.
I mean he is just acting, right 🙂
Good music has the ability to communicate emotions on a primitive, almost visceral, level and Blue Gillespie certainly get inside your head. These are stages that we’ve all been through and to hear them laid bare like this is, well, emotional.
This is an album that rewards perseverance. Oh, there’s enough of interest there from the very first spin to satisfy the casual listener, but like any masterpiece it’s only by really getting to know it that you can fully understand exactly what the artist is trying to convey.
And, by any measure, Seven Rages Of Man is a masterpiece.