SEVENTH KEY – The Raging Fire

SEVENTH KEY - The Raging Fire


Frontiers Records
Release date: February 9, 2004

User Review
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Seventh Key is the band Billy Greer heads when Kansas isn’t consuming his time. It’s amazing that a guy with a voice like this isn’t the lead singer of his “bigger” band, but hey, Steve Walsh is Steve Walsh. Anyway, The Raging Fire is Seventh Key’s second album, but while the first CD was full of unpublished Kansas material and songs written by other musicians, Greer and Mike Slamer (who also produced the album and played keys and guitar) wrote all original music on this go around.

Like their label mates On The Rise, Seventh Key offers an infectious blend of pop melodies and hard rock. While you may find parts of songs that sound like Kansas, it doesn’t last. Seventh Key is its own animal, for the most part. Since Greer also plays bass and wrote all the songs, it is a pleasure hearing the bass be an integral part of each song.

“Always From the Heart” is an uplifting hard rock song that starts with intricate acoustic guitar and Greer’s haunting voice. After the intro, the song picks up, and the message of this song is to never give up, lay it on the line, never be afraid to reach for your dreams. “Happy go lucky” describes the song as well.

While most of their songs are of this element, upbeat and happy, “You Cross the Line” is a moodier song. The song is tremendously slow, at the beginning, showcasing Greer’s utterly effortless vocals. While “Always From the Heart” has more individual guitar notes moving the song along, riffs are used here. For those who don’t like “dated” music, never fear; this doesn’t sound like 1970s or ‘80s rock.

The title song, “The Raging Fire,” is another slower track. They do have a tendency to begin their songs in a sedate way, and then pick up the pace. This song has a bluesy edge to it, especially at the chorus. It seems that Greer and Slamer made a conscious effort NOT to write the same sounding song twice on The Raging Fire, and it worked. Slamer’s solo in this song is brief and bubbly, like Yngwie on decaf.

Seventh Key is adept enough to change speeds and be convincing. “Sin City,” a song about, “laying my money down and letting it ride,” is a fun, fast melodic rock song. The faster-paced “Run” sounds a bit like Foreigner, and has the most attitude of any song on the disk.

If you are looking for a “Dust in the Wind” remake, you aren’t going to find it. The only real ballad is “It Should Have Been You,” but it isn’t an acoustic guitar song. This is probably the one time where Greer and Slamer strike out. The song is catchy, and a little too full of syrup. This is one of those songs you’ve heard a hundred times before, and seems much longer than the 5:27 it’s listed as.

Seventh Key sounds like a guilty pleasure, Greer playing the type of music he likes best and just having fun, while getting a chance to show off his voice. The Raging Fire doesn’t really add anything new to the genre, and it’s one of those CDs that you’ll hear and enjoy, but overall isn’t as memorable as his “other” band is. Of course, not many bands are. If you want melodic hard rock, that is more hard than pop, and some of the smoothest vocals you’ll ever hear, Seventh Key is your band.

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