“The 7th Sin”

By Dr. Abner Mality

“The 7th Sin” is a true one-man production from San Antonio performer BRYAN ECKERMANN. That means he did EVERYTHING here...all vocals, guitars, druns, keys. Everything! Now usually these one man bands turn out to be primitive black or death metal, but in ECKERMANN’s case, he tackles a very ornate style of melodic death metal with a lot of layering to it. How did he do?

Well, bunky, there’s good news and bad news. The sound here is generally very professional, with a clear mix. BRYAN favors a clean kind of sound that I would compare to a lot of what you hear on the Nuclear Blast label. One hitch is the drumming, which as is so often the case, extremely digital and clattery. Yep, the Nuclear Blast “house” drum sound. Otherwise, guitar sound is good and ECKERMANN’s harsh vocals are extremely grim and ripping.

As for the songs, the pace is not fast. Opening cut “Succubus” has a slow and ominous build to it that is unusual for a first song. It’s clear right away that ECKERMANN is influenced by 90’s melodic death and black metal. But one problem is that he doesn’t know when to quit. Many songs here just go too long. I can’t for the life of me figure out why “Flesh and Steel” is not a five minute song instead one that’s nine minutes just goes on and on for no purpose and thereby deflates itself. That’s the most obvious example but not the only one. Of the originals here, I’d pick “Tales of the Past” and “Graveyard Hymn” as my favorites.

There are also 4 covers here and they are a really diverse lot that reveals something about ECKERMANN’s influences. The MERCYFUL FATE cover “Sold My Soul” comes across really well and focuses on a lesser known FATE track. “Nocternity” by little known black metal band ILLNATH is like DISSECTION with lush keyboards. “Same Old Song” is a track by Peter Tagtgren’s industrial metal band PAIN that kind of goes in one ear and out the other. Most surprising is the last cut, a sharp cover of the JUDAS PRIEST ballad “Night Comes Down”, which is faithful until it comes to ECKERMANN’s harsh vocals.

This guy can flat out play and is working in a style of metal that is not all that common any more. His songwriting can definitely use some work...when he figures out where to trim the fat, he will be a force.