Seven Against Thebes have been doing their thing for ten years, and with the release of Art of Deception, both audiences and critics alike will notice the creative growth they’ve experienced since their debut. Art of Deception showcases a band in their prime; completely connected with one another musically and artistically, Seven Against Thebes thwarts the pitfalls that most bands face when making a broad concept piece by doing what they do best. If you aren’t already in the know, this band isn’t shy about pumping the volume way past 11 in their work, and whether it’s bassist Mr. Black or guitarist Cyrus Rhodes, the strings are going to be shaking your floorboards within seconds of pressing play on the album.Art of Deception isn’t an album that was designed for candy pop fans nor critics with idealistic views of melodic rock. It was made for the musicians, the Seattle that spawned them and the world that isn’t always prepared for the audacity of music that breaks all of the rules in all the right ways.

Art of Deception is a guitar-forward record in an age of synthesized chaos. Rhodes divvies out the mayhem for singer Rusty Hoyle to carefully dance around with a prose that spends as much time chasing an improbable harmony as it does creating a landscape. The way Bruce Burgess manages the entire unit on the skins is nothing short of heart stopping, and while the breakneck percussion is as jarring and raw as it comes, even the most casual of rock fans won’t be offended by its organic realism. As a musician myself it’s inspiring to hear a band that’s this tightly wound in a live studio environment where everything is being recorded in a single take. It all comes back to the even handed grind of the guitar work though, as is the case with all of rock n’ roll’s most legendary recordings, and even though we’ve entered a time where computer software often fills the chair where a blue collar axe-wielding musician once sat, Seven Against Thebes refuses to give into the trend.

If you thought that the only heavy music left on earth was metal, you’d better think again; Art of Deception proves that rock music can throw down musical weight with the best of them, and Seven Against Thebes might just be the best in the business at dispatching it. They’re bringing heavy music into the 2020s with a reverence that I personally haven’t seen since the alternative rock explosion of the early 1990s, except this time around there’s a much more determined effort to preserve what has become so holy to us all. Rock is back and better than ever, and bands like this one are the only reason why. Don’t believe the noise that exists between the stations on your FM dial; the hammer of the gods is still producing a mighty ripple effect, and you needn’t look further than Art of Deception to see just how powerful that effect continues to be.


Sebastian Cole