RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Seventh Key – I Will Survive
Frontiers Records

Rating: B+

The history of Seventh Key is forever linked with the band Kansas.  The band is led by Billy Greer, who has been playing bass with Kansas for a quarter of a century.  Yet, the parallel with Kansas runs much deeper than that. 

Way back in early ‘80s, when Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh could no longer take the Christian themes creeping into Kansas music, he left the group and formed the band Streets with guitarist Mike Slamer and Billy Greer.  The band had a few minor hits but, in the end, failed to create the same success as Kansas, and by the mid-1980s, Walsh returned to Kansas, bringing along Greer as the new bass player.

In 2001, Greer created Seventh Key as a side project with Slamer.  The band released a couple of albums, but after they released a live DVD in 2005, they sat silent….until now. 

I Will Survive sees the band back together, and, truth be told, this is the best album they have ever made.  All of the melodic rock stuff is there, but Billy’s 25 years in Kansas comes across loud and clear.  In fact, this is closest thing to a true Kansas sounding record in decades. 

There are moments where the mix of Seventh Key and Kansas leaves ones jaws dropped.  “I Will Survive” and “I See You There” are great songs that show just how good well done melodic hard rock can be.

The album produced and mixed by Slamer sounds great, as well.  The songs are well written and performed flawlessly. 

Billy’s  band mate in Kansas, David Ragsdale, joins him with some tasty violin on a few songs, making the Kansas comparisons even more relevant.

You may notice, I keep referencing Kansas here and Kansas there…however, Seventh Key is their own band.  They don’t copy anyone’s style, including Kansas.  What I am trying to say is that they have the history of the pop rock styling of Streets and the epic nature of Kansas and this time out they have put it all together in a way the really works.  This is one of the best releases of the year. 

Slamer and Greer have always been revered in the melodic rock circles, yet with this one, they kick it up a notch and deliver music that works on many levels.  This one is classy, tasteful and melodic yet it also rocks, sounds best when played loud and has songs that literally force the listener to return to them time and time again.

Bottom Line: Buy this sucker.

Tracklisting: I Will Survive; Lay In On The Line; I See You There; It’s Just A State Of Mind; Sea Of Dreams; Time And Time Again; When Love Sets You Free; Down; The Only One; What Love’s Supposed To Be; I Want It All.
Billy Greer : Bass, Lead Vocals
Mike Slamer: Guitars, Keyboards, Programming
Chet Wynd: Drums
Special Guests:
David Ragsdale: Violin
Billy Trudel, Terry Brock, Bobby Capps: Background vocals
Barry “The Blade” Johnson: Guitar
David Manion: Keyboards
Produced and mixed by Mike Slamer

By Jeb Wright