Sieben - The line and the hook - 2001


Sieben is a project created by Matt Howden (Sol Invictus) in 1997 with his wife Jane (bass, vocals) and Sally Doherty (flute, vocals). Until now, Sieben had only released one first CD called "Forbid The Sun's Escapes". This second CD has been recorded without Sally Doherty, and Matt (drums, violin, Japanese banjo, piano, strings, mandolin, bass, acoustic guitar and vocals), next to Jane, Peter White (sax), Jason White (drums), Sarah Griffiths (vocals), Dave Cowling (vocals) and Ainsley Stones (acoustic guitar) has created a CD full of feelings and notes slowly introduced slowly in the mind and the heart of the listener.


How would honor sound like?, how would melancholy sound like?… probably very similar to "Das Volkerschlachtdenkmal", first song of the CD and a homage to the monument to the people of Leipzig who resisted the blockade of Napoleon´s army and under which Sieben offered its first live show. This is the kind of tracks in which Sieben offers 110% of its talent: the feeling, the marciality, the nostalgia. Other impressive samples Howden´s talent to recreate images in black and white are the tense and dramatic "Christmas 1914", a beautiful song with a wonderful text written by Keith Howden, Matt´s father. Keith is also the composer of the lyrics of "Promises of to earth sufficient", a song that begins dark and get lighter and lighter as the minutes passes by and some sections of unforgettable strings. "Light shines" is a short and very hypnotic song with a playful bass and percussion as main characters and has a very catchy vocal melody between Matt and Sarah Griffiths.

"A name" is another short and mysterious track, very tense topic, that next to the hysterical and happy "Back to the fire" open up in route to "Northern lights" a beautiful song and full with feeling... the voices of Matt and Jane, the violin, and the phone effects really get inside the listener. After this, another song of military thematic "Footsoldier" with a march-like percussion. "Second witchwords" is another intense poem of Keith. After this song, there is an interesting song called "My ideology" and that I suppose that it has its origin in the unjust accusations of Sol Invictus´ ideology. Matt shuts the mouth of the ignoramuses arguing that his only ideology "is the sound, is the note, is the stop" with the only weapon of his violin, his voice and an impressive acoustic guitar... for sure Matt would not have the same problems if he had the ideology of Rage against the machine. Another great track of the CD is "Old Gods" tremendously progressive with a Japanese banjo and a rhythmic base difficult to forget. The epilogue of the CD is "Denkmal" "Here the Gods look down and here their voice" is the only text repeated until the fade out. Very beautiful, really.


If it was not for "Not less at all" - not a bad song but it doesn´t fit with the rest of the CD The line and the hook would be a CD without any low point. Photos worn away by the step of the time, farewells in old train stations, Christmas in the trench having a beer for one day with the enemy, voices that return of a remote past, from the heart of our continent. Matt Howden is the necromancer that returns the life some sensations that, although we have never lived them, they are patent test of our continental identity and centuries and centuries of history of Europe.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - March 2001 -   - Red Room