Seventh Harmonic, ethereal band, UK

From my article in Khimaira magazine, Belgium, April 2003, on their early CDs (several); style refs: Falling You, Arcana, Eden, Ataraxia, Estampie, Daemonia Nymphe, Hagalaz Runedance. S.H. have garnered an impressive fleet of albums. Weathering several changes of crew, Caroline Jago, the band’s guiding force, maintains integrity while refreshingly direct. Listening to her music, a spirit lures me into realms where secrets are less easily unfurled. Transcending the dark surge of keyboards that abounds in this gothic niche, Seventh Harmonic is distinguished by diving of melodies into unexpected eddies, as a streamlet turns from a river, dipping under bark and moss. Overhead, vocals weave a Clannadesque spell, as if Maire Brennan’s Marianne were to stray into more dangerous groves of the greenwood. I like the moody violin & keyboards of The Last Goodbye on S.H.’s 1st CD The Awakening. 2nd CD, The Ascent, features Amandine Ferrari’s excellent singing, which in Firedance feels close to folk-rock of early Heart. Ethnic-ambient passage in Your Sleep is captivating, as is frenetic #8 in 2 parts: The Dream + The Exodus, with dramatic sampling. #9 Transformation is like Eden & Kate Bush in union; next track calls to mind the US duo Falling You. 3rd Seventh Harmonic release, Promise of Sacrifice, opens with dreamy neo-folk De Terra Fons Exoritur. #2 has a medieval atonal quality, its rhythm running in a similar vein to neo-pagan Hagalaz Runedance. Fine vocalists grace this album: Kate Arnold, Paul Nemeth, original vocalist Fionna, and Daemonia Nymphe members Evi Stergiou and Spyros Giasafakis (contributing Homer’s lyrics). #10 Immortal Selene with table harp by Spyros is exquisite; incantations are reminiscent of Arcana. Byron’s poetry features in #12 Parisina. Kate’s title-track lyrics capture the album’s spirit: “You came out of the creeping dawn / When summer’s flower was winter’s thorn / Daemons on the frozen air / Ran fiery fingers through your hair”. I recommend S.H. to fans of Arcana, Ataraxia or Estampie, esp. #2 Es Demetran or #3 like Qntal. In #4 we re-encounter Caroline’s melodic composition. Seventh Harmonic were perfect accompaniment to a book I was reading, Folklore of the Forest by Alexander Porteous, about how the monk of Hildesheim listened to a bird’s melody in the green wood and found that in three minutes, three hundred years had flown. It tells of Silene and Endymion, also the legend of Korrigan, who nearly tempted Sir Roland in the forest of Broceliande, where many perished for love of her; and Dante’s description of the Cimmerian Forest: dark-leaved trees spoke to the wanderer when he tried to pluck a twig.