2017 (MM Records)
“Seventh Widows” from 2017 is the sixth studio album by Polish progband Believe. The music on this album is wonderful, considering the early years of their existence that wasn’t really expected. The band formed by brilliant guitarist Miroslaw Gil, who made himself immortal with the legendary Collage, made his debut in 2006 with “Hope To See Another day”. The industrial sound of the band that immersed the album didn’t appeal to me, also the gritty Seattle sound of the guitar chords opposed me. What really bothered me was the theatrical way of singing. The album was an uncomfortable mix of dark, melancholic neo-prog and some kind of pseudo-hardrock/metal. Through the years and a couple of sensible line-up changes the band showed an enormous growth, ending in “Seven Windows”.
What has always stayed and what comes forward as obvious feature of “Seven Widows” is the dark melancholy. The performance is many times better and the compositions are really integer.
The strong sides of Believe are, of course, guitarist Gil and the Japanese violinist Satomi who also is responsible for the beautiful keyboards. Frequently they fill the music with lyrical melodies and gracious riffs. Sometimes they bring their passionate playing together like in the theme of the opening song, sometimes they bring out the best of themselves in individual moments. The enchanting violin solo in the world-music section of IV is a great example of the latter. Also the guitar solo at the end of the closing VII has a high goose-bumps factor and will be gobbled up like a sweet pie by fans of Collage. Wherever you are on the album, constantly Gil and Satomi confronts you with their actions. On a spare moment there is an acoustic guitar like in II, sometimes it is brutal like in VII where it’s headed towards gothic rock. Most of the time it is neo-prog, where the word gritty doesn’t fully cover the content but just a bit.
The music is surrounded by quite present bass guitar and drums. Przemyslaw Zawadzki and Robert Kubajek get through the irregular time signatures effortlessly without it getting hectic or unruly. It is skillful all over the place.
The man who can make or break the album with his cool contributions is singer Lukasz Ociepa. He is new to the band and has the ungrateful task as third singer in a row to provide the intriguing music with vocals. He succeeds fine, reminds a lot of his predecessor Karol Wróblewski and if he becomes emotional he sounds like the first singer should have. Ociepa has his finest moments in III where he improvises in the choruses. It is a shame he already left the band after this album.
Believe will release a new record in 2021, according to their website, on which singer four makes his appearance. If that album will be only half as good as “Seven Widows” it will be fine.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022