Seven Cycle Theory
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Seven Cycle Theory


Band Metal Rock


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"Album Review: Seven Cycle Theory “Agonist”"

By Elizabeth Saunders

And now for something completely different….. that’s an old Monty Python reference, but I love it when I hear an album that brings that phrase to mind. It doesn’t happen often, either. I hear a lot of music every day, but it takes something really special to draw me in to the point of really listening. The album “Agonist”, by Nashville-based band Seven Cycle Theory is one of those, and I’m better off for it.

How, you wonder, could a hard rock album make me better off for having heard it? Mainly, it reinforced my long-held belief that a lot of the unsigned or Indie label bands I have heard recently are changing the face of music, as we know it. I lived in the Northwest during what is commonly referred to as the “Grunge Movement”, and I had the same feeling back then. I was correct then, and “Agonist” validates what I keep trying to tell people: I am also correct now. There is a widely-held belief among my friends and family members that I always think I’m right, but those guys are just jealous.

I really do have a file labeled “Nirvana Syndrome”, which doesn’t mean anything with specific regard to the band Nirvana, rather; the phenomenon of new music that challenges the status quo of ordinary thinking. “Agonist” went directly into that file—well, after it spent a LONG time in my cd player.

I know I said that the album was a hard rock album, and it is. It is a lot of other things, as well. It pulls elements from techno, punk, industrial, metal, and I could keep going. That’s because the sound doesn’t fit neatly into any specific genre. It’s all of them and none of them.

When I started into “Agonist”, I thought I was going to be reviewing a band patterned after Slipknot (who I love and admire very much) due primarily to the amazing double-bass sound, and secondarily, the vocals on the track “By My Own Hand”. But even within that first track, I realized that I was hearing synth tracks, white noise, along with a LOT of other stuff. Good stuff, I might add. This wasn’t run-of-the mill hard core rock music.

I moved along to the track “Dissociate”, and my jaw dropped. Was this even the same band? And yet, as I listened, there was no way this could be anything but the work of Seven Cycle Theory. “Dissociate” is extraordinarily melodic, still very hard-driving, but far less aggressive than “By My Own Hand”. The true standout on that track is the bass. I have never made a secret of the fact that I’m a total bass-snob, and “Dissociate” appealed deeply to that sense of what a true bassist should sound like. Seven Cycle Theory’s ability to merge a totally funky bass line with Jon Davis-ish (Korn) sounding vocals, searing guitar and the ever-present techno backbeat is genius. In my rough notes on the band, I referenced old Finger Eleven, the Mephisto Odyssey and Static X mix “Crash”, along with Powerman 5000. It reminded me so much of those guys, and yet it was totally original.

And then, the most amazing thing happened. I listened to another track, “Only once”, and was utterly floored--again. “Only Once” contains some of the most blindingly beautiful guitar work I have EVER heard. Ever. Again, I found myself wondering yet again: how could this be the work of the same band I just heard 3 minutes ago? This track “Only Once” reminded me of The Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, and somehow remained true to what Seven Cycle Theory is about. It is an awe-inspiring instrumental piece; that is to say it has no vocals whatsoever, but it spoke volumes to me nonetheless.

As stunningly diverse as “Agonist” is, there is a certain cohesiveness that binds the overall sound of the band. Perhaps the glue lies in the agonizing lyrical content—which, by the way, speaks to loss, heartache, emotional pain, and is oh-so-honest-- yet, doesn’t depress. Maybe it lies in the combination of nearly unbelievable musicianship and those often heartbreaking lyrics that speak to the fragility which lies in us all. I honestly don’t know.

Whatever the case may be, Seven Cycle Theory’s “Agonist” feels like something tightly-woven that allows the listener to experience a bit of emotional unraveling. And maybe therein lies the key to the album’s consistent appeal. “Agonist” seems to have a definite and strong personality, and if it wants the listener to head-bang, that’s what will happen. If introspection is called for, that’s what will happen. Sometimes it’s both. It is happily unavoidable.

Seven Cycle Theory is Kevin Edlin (Guitar,vocals), Richard Robinette (Vocals, synths, samples, and loops), Chris Placco bass, and Josh Douglas/Kevin Fridley (Drums)

“Agonist” was produced by Edlin (whose body of production and sound engineering work has played a part in multiple Grammy/Dove nods and awards for other artists, most notably The Nashville Symphony Orchestra) and Robinette, themselves It can be purchased on the band’s website
- Enigma


Agonist 2007



Seven Cycle Theory is built from four distinct and very different personalities, backgrounds, and life experiences. Each person brings his own perspective, input, and creative agenda to the group. Their songs are written and performed with both negative and positive connotations - but with integrity in either respect. They write about what they feel, the things they see, and how we all have to come to terms with this life we live in these uncertain times.

With a solid history in many different aspects of the music business, this band already knows the ropes from inside to out. One is a professional audio/recording engineer specializing in rock and pop studio recording, live multi-track and location recording, live broadcast mixing, and classical music tracking/mixing/ mastering. He’s engineered on hundreds of album projects for other artists, some of which have been nominated and have won Grammys. Another member has experience at major record labels, as well as smaller independent companies. He’s also a photographic editor, whose visual editing and graphic design abilities almost equal his digital audio skills - which arguably rival those of the best in the industry today. Yet another one of them has an extensive background in big budget touring, stage management, and large-scale live concert production. This member in particular has traveled the country and shared the stage with some of the most prominent entertainers in the world. Their newest addition also works in television promotions—writing, producing, and editing video daily for broadcast. He’s even been awarded an Emmy for his work. But as specialized as they all are, more often than not their skill sets overlap. To some degree they have all been successful in each other’s fields of expertise. All have worked with many different successful producers, recording engineers, tour managers, record label executives, lighting directors, booking agents, artist managers, and FOH and Monitor engineers. In fact, the band members themselves have been successful in many of these same roles. They are all well versed in practically all genres of music as well as the many different facets of the music business. From major-label platinum selling commercial artists to innovative underground music movements these four members have, in their respective areas of expertise, helped make, shape, and forge many of the successful careers of both today and yesterday. Suffice to say, each individual in the group already has more knowledge of the music industry than the combined experience most other bands ever get.

But this isn’t all they have to offer. During these times, they’ve been writing music, honing their skills, and biding their time as they observe the world around them. They’ve been waiting, planning, plotting, and practicing – for a time that’s right to bring their own talents to the surface. That time is now, and Seven Cycle Theory is ready to deliver. With a live show and stage presence that’s unrivaled in its intensity, this band is known for upstaging the acts they’re billed with, even those who are far more popular than themselves. They’ve worked with the best, learned from the best, and have helped make some of your favorite stars who they are. Now, it’s time for you to see what they can do. You won’t be disappointed.