I am quite certain that most Prog fans, particularly those in Europe, have already switched on to Seven Steps To The Green Door. The band swooped in to conquer two awards at the prestigious German Rock And Pop Awards following the 2006 release of their debut album The Puzzle.
Topping the Best Progressive and Best Experimental polls was no feat. Suddenly Seven Steps To The Green Door were being heralded as one of the most exciting developments in progressive music that year. Now we have their eagerly anticipated second album Step In 2 My World.
The band, like their name, are built around seven members. Toxic Smile Keyboardist and saxophonist Marek Arnold, drummer Uli Reinhardt, bass player Heiko Rehm, guitarist Andreas Gemeinhard, provide the exceptional musicianship. The band also boast three highly capable vocalists in Ronny Grube, Lars Kohler, and Anne Trautmann.
But does the album deliver?
Step In 2 My World (Progrock Records, 2008) is more than just a continuation of their highly impressive rhythmic experimentation explored on The Puzzle. If anything they push their findings further towards the extreme outer limits that underline their understanding of the term ‘progressive’ in the real sense of the word. Nothing really prepares you for a ride taken on this disc.
We have a whole range of substance here. There are more of the melodic harmonizing utilizing the band’s three vocalists. This sits above a totally unpredictable styling that includes elements of experimental art-rock, prog-metal, rap, and some possessed jazz sequences.
Rap, and brief flashes of near death metal force their way through smooth vocal harmony. Jazz appears when least expected. Glimpses of rhythmic pop, sit side by side with full on prog-metal bursts. Thumping grooves give way to luscious, gentle vocal arrangements.
Despite all of these elements coming at you, the band somehow keep their direction, a purpose, and return to a core that underpins the whole production. Where they stepped off the parapet with The Puzzle, they are now hurtling through the air and flying towards an altogether more complex experiment.
The album can be played many, many times and still avoids predictability. Quite simply it shifts from the anticipated direction and moves onwards with an intensity that allows for something new to be discovered in every play. Totally eccentric on one hand, and yet controlled, and expertly delivered on the other. The widely varied and skilfully executed musicianship carries the whole concept onward and upward.