Sound — 7
The latest release from Vinnie Paul's Big Vin Records label comes from Seventh Void, which features familiar faces such as Type O Negative's Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly, Matt Brown of Uranium 235, and Hank Hell of Inhuman. The sound of the band could have gone in a variety of directions (between the doom metal produced by Type O Negative over the years and the hardcore punk-driven songs of Inhuman), but the general sound usually takes a more straightforward rock approach with a slightly dark spin on it. There is a certain sludge sound to Seventh Void's debut CD Heaven Is Gone, but this release marks the quartet's most accessible collective work at least in connecting with general rock audiences. Guitarist Kenny Hickey is no stranger to vocals and often balances out the ghoulish, yet smooth delivery of Peter Steele in Type O Negative. You'll find no dark, foreboding vocals on the Seventh Void record, however, and that fact alone separates the group from Hickey's past work. Besides the obvious vocal difference, Seventh Void also leans more heavily on groove-oriented riffs and blues-based solos. This becomes apparent from the first track Closing In, which begins with a slower, grooving riff that basically drives the entire song. And undoubtedly, the absence of synth/keyboards immediately injects a much grittier overall feel to the record. Heaven Is Gone isn't the most inventive record out there, but there are several moments that impress. The End Of All Time and Shadow On Me hearken back to more of a Black Sabbath sound with it's trudging, ominous intro and groaning guitars. It's when the band decides to take the tempo down and go with more of a Tony Iommi vibe that the CD is at it's most effective. Both of the these tracks also feature fantastic transitions into lead work midway through, with The End Of All Time standing out more so because of the unusual guitar effects chosen during the solo. There is some wisely chosen instrumentation, and that can often mean the difference between a near-home-run and mediocrity.
Lyrics — 6
From the slow, sludged-out guitars, one might expect darker lyrical content and they'd be correct in that expectation. Seventh Void leaves little to the imagination with titles like Heaven Is Gone, Killing You Slow, and Last Walk In The Light, but the themes do seem to be appropriate given the band members' musical histories. If you're not a fan of melodramatic, sinister lyrics, Seventh Void is not the band for you. However, if you enjoy lines such as, Your shadow hanging over my head; You make the sun go out (Shadow Over Me) or You're spiraling down; Last words; Before dying out (Descent), you'll love every minute of Seventh Void's debut.
Overall Impression — 7
There are more than a few moments on Heaven Is Gone that recall Black Sabbath, and that's never a bad thing. The entire playlist is not necessarily as memorable as Tony Iommi and the boys' material, but Hickey does still know how to create a mood without having Peter Steele present. The debut CD is in general a good CD to rock out to when you're feeling sinister or pissed, but it's not the kind of release that will blow audiences away. Musically the band does show promise (particularly in the guitar team of Hickey and Brown), but it's not likely to attract a following like Type O Negative quite yet.