Somewhere through the mists of the New Orleans swamps looms the Seven Doors hotel, a portal to realms of ungodly suffering. It is just one of three known gateways to hell, though seven exist. It also happens to be home to punishing Old School Death Metal too. Seven Doors is the Death Metal solo project of Ryan Wills, a man best known to UK Black Metal fans as the guy that does the sick shreddy stuff in Deadwood Lake and Wolves In Exile. If the name wasn’t a big giveaway already, the music is based on cult classic Horror’s of the 70’s and 80’s, most notably the works of the Italian Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci. After releasing a stand alone single in October 2020, entitled ‘The Nights Of Terror’, Seven Doors follow up to pay loving respect to Fulci’s most acclaimed, and notorious, body of work… The Seven Doors Trilogy.
‘Into The Tombs’ opens with a sample taken from the first film in the trilogy (The City Of The Living Dead), before descending into maddening melodies and huge chords. The song hits like a drill to the temple, with a variety of savage riffs to satiate even the thirstiest of riff lover’s needs. The opening tremolo picking riff is bound to get bodies slamming, with slower sections sending you to A&E in need of a neck brace. The chorus is as catchy as Death Metal can be, with heaps of groove and Ryan’s raspy caveman lows suitably disgusting for the music. The list of influences ranges from old school bruisers such as Gorguts or Asphyx, to modern day heavyweights like Skeletal Remains and Blood Incantation, choosing the best parts from all of them to create an audible nightmare, the perfect backdrop considering the lyrical content. And, of course, there’s some fine lead work on display with an incredible solo that is fast and shreddy but maintains a sense of melody that helps elevate Ryan’s lead writing chops above most in the country (ask any Deadwood Lake fan and they’d tell you the same). The song reprises the intro melody before leading into a clean guitar homage to Fabio Frizzi’s ‘Irrealtá Di Suoni’, which is taken from the film’s soundtrack. It’s the perfect way to start the E.P, showing you exactly what Seven Doors are about.
The mid-tempo uppercut of ‘Blinding Horrors’ makes for the perfect neck muscle workout, bringing out the inner Corpsegrinder in all of us. The riff work is infectious, laying the perfect foundation for Fulci’s masterpiece, The Beyond, to get the audio love affair it deserves. The middle section riff has an almost Doom vibe to it, bringing in some dissonant bends to perfectly encapsulate the fever dream nightmarish quality of the film. The speed picks up a touch during the solo section, where we are treated to slower, more melodic affair compared to the previous song, though there’s still some sweep picking in there towards the end for those fearing you may not get the shred fix you need. The song ends with the chorus leading into a distorted version of ‘Verso L’Ignoto’, taken from the film’s soundtrack, once again composed by Fabio Frizzi. These little nods to the music of the films help to tie up this neat Fulci package and are great little easter eggs for fans of the films.
The final track goes straight for the jugular, with tremolo picked riffs and devastating blast beats. ‘Cellar Dweller’ is all about The House By The Cemetery and Dr. Freudstein’s reign of terror (and also Bob’s reign of terror on the audience’s ear drums), shoveling riff after riff down our throats, with fast sections capable of whipping up hurricanes and the slower moments opting to pummel you in the face until you’re left feeling battered and bruised. The slamming chorus hits harder than a truck made of lead, the verse blitzes everything in its path with ferocious speed and the solo being suitably manic, providing the shredfest we desire but with a melodic touch that gives it an edge. The constant switches in tempo add to the madness and envelops the listener in Fulci’s blood-soaked world. The song ends with a final rasp of “Fulci lives!”, a statement that Seven Doors fully back-up.
Seven Doors have hit the ground running with this release, blending old school and modern Death Metal flavours together to devastating effect, and tying it all up with the gore-drenched horrors of Lucio Fulci’s demented work. The riffs in all three songs is top tier stuff and with the constant change in tempos and variety, you won’t ever find yourself getting bored. It’s a short but punchy listen that does a Dicky and goes straight for the throat, tearing it to bloodied shreds in the process. Ryan’s vocals are exactly the kind of low, raspy bellows the music requires, adding to the atmosphere of the music, with the addition of Frizzi’s music being the cherry on top of a perfect cake. The performances are as good as they come, with everything sounding tight and locked in, which adds to the overall huge sound the E.P possesses. The bass tone is chunky and slightly dirty, the guitars are crisp and clear but maintain plenty of bite and the drums sound organic and pulverizing, adding to the old school aesthetic. The production is also noteworthy stuff as it sounds like it came from the early 90’s Death Metal scene with it’s raw, gritty savagery in full display. Nothing outshines each other in the mix and the clean sound makes everything is easy to pick out. Overall, this is a solid debut release that will please every Death Metal fan, new or old. If you’re looking for a quick slab of brutality, set against a backdrop of crumbling zombies, vomiting entrails, face-munching tarantulas and twisted undead experiments then this is the perfect release for you. Fulci does indeed live, and Seven Doors are here to spread the word.
Seven Doors The Gates Of Hell is released on Friday the 29th Jan 2021 and available on BandCamp https://sevendoorsdm.bandcamp.com/releases