Sunday, December 26, 2004

Review: Septer - Transgressor (2003)

Septer [ Website | MySpace ]
Pulse Records

Septer's debut album Transgressor is a superb example of American power metal, similar to bands such as Cage and Jag Panzer, infused with a traditional '80s metal sound. Originally forming in the mid-'90s, the band's creative output would not see the light of day until this 2003 release. From start to finish, Septer reach for the jugular and never let go.

The two aspects which make Septer a true contender in the world of metal are the killer vocals of Kevin Truell and the twin guitar fretwork of Orest "Hawk" Dziatyk and Paul Dailey. Kevin's growling style reminds me a lot of Biff Byford (Saxon) at times, though he also possesses an unwavering ability to reach the highest wails in a very Halford-esque manner. His execution of the chorus on "Blood and Dishonor" is flawless, giving that track staying power as one of the highlights of Transgressor. While Kevin adds depth with his range and ability, Hawk and Dailey put together some fantastic leads and solos to give every track on the album a uniqueness that keeps the listening experience from ever going stale. Again, I point to "Blood and Dishonor" to illustrate the skill of both guitarists with the solo. Lightning quick, yet expressive.

While the majority of the album flies in your face with speed and aggression, Septer doesn't fail to calm the torrent - if but only briefly. "You Better Believe" follows the assault of "Blood and Dishonor" with passionate vocals from Kevin, a steady grooving riff, and yet another emotional solo from Hawk. To further add to the atmosphere, there is a Spanish element to the final guitar solo that occurs immediately following a bit of a keyboard interlude.

Transgressor is an album of highlights, to be sure. Besides the skills already mentioned, drummer Jeff Kmiec does an excellent job behind the kit as he weaves together both simple beats and complex rhythm patterns. To complete the package, the production is excellent and the artwork top-notch. Having sung praise thus far, I must point out two specific instances where I found the band to be at their weakest. The first finds Kevin as being uncharacteristically weak on "Slipping Away", sounding forced and very uncomfortable. The final quip I have with Transgressor actually comes on the lead-off track "Die By The Axe". For the most part an excellent track, there are a few attempts at introducing progressive elements to the song which serve only to give the impression of being disjointed and out-of-place.

As the band readies their sophomore album, Kevin has been replaced by Dane McCartney. Not having heard Dane, I can only wonder what impact he will have on the sound of Septer.

Track Listing
1Die By the Axe4:27
3Blood and Dishonor5:33
4You Better Believe5:33
7Slipping Away4:01
8Last Days3:27

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