The Epitome of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

By Jack St. Clair

From the outset of “Incomplete”, the opening track to Se7en4’s first official release, Let’s Get High and Fight, you know that they came to play. As one of the desert’s most popular acts you would expect the music to be heavy, hard and intense – as they have always been. But now they sound HUGE. And it is impressive.

Se7en4 began in 2000 as Two Minutes Hate and a couple years later renamed themselves. Fourteen years and a few personnel changes later – including three previous bass players before finding current member Trevino Martin, the exit of guitarist Chris Cole, and addition of guitarist Pete Burquez – Se7en4 have released their first official album.

Se7en4 recently won Best Punk Band at the CV Music Awards show. But categorizing them as just a punk band would be a mistake. Certainly they have that in them, especially on “You Instead” and “Disturbing”, both So-Cal punk songs with a hardcore edge. The truth is that this band is equal parts punk and hard rock with a tinge of metal. The albums’ second track, “Barrio Rave”, dispels the one dimensional idea from the very outset. Guitarist Burquez begins the song with a heavy funk-rock riff not unlike something you would hear from Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The band kicks in and gets you hooked. The verses continue the funk-rock trend and it only highlights the talents of drummer Steve Hall and bass player Martin as a solid rhythm unit, capable of more than the typical heavy rock band fixtures. It features what might be frontman Nick Flores’ most singable chorus.


On this album Flores not only delivers, but also surprises – from his wretched screams from the gut – which you expect to hear – to moments of soft soulfulness that showcase his range. He isn’t afraid, and probably doesn’t care, if you take offense to what he writes. He’s up front and brutally honest about what is on his mind. Most of us, if not all, are familiar with the sugar-coated 80’s rock that had Axl Rose say “feel my serpentine”. Flores would never be so lame as to use such a trite line. He’s in your face. Uncensored! If you can’t handle his raw language, then this probably isn’t the band for you. Though the listener is unable to know what is tongue and cheek and what is to be taken literal, it is for sure that he is saying things that you might have thought at one time or another, but would only say to yourself.

Production of this record is top notch, as it should be with desert to L.A. transplant Mikey Doling producing. Doling has been the guitar player for Soulfly, InVitro and the seminal punk band Snot and is currently playing with Channel Zero. In most situations it is impossible to determine how much of an influence a producer truly has on a band. But with that in mind, it is evident that Doling has harnessed this band’s talent and energy into a powerful and focused hard rock band.

It is “Excess” that edges out as my favorite. The floor-tom driven rhythm of the verses found me moving the most with the beat. Yet again, it was Flores’ final verses that sold me on the song. Framed by straight up punk rock, the lyrics “Even though I compromise, it’s going to be the death of me” and “It’s all sex, drugs and rock and roll that’s sending me straight to hell” become the most poignant moments on the entire record.

Somewhat surprising is the last track “It Won’t Be Alright”, a stripped down acoustic track to bookend the rage of the nine before it. You can never know where a songwriter is coming from, but perhaps this is the most telling of all, as Flores laments a love that has gotten away. Despite the way she has treated him he can’t help but still love her. If Se7en4 reaches the masses they are shooting for, they’ll probably be expected to play this every night. After all, hasn’t everyone been spurned by someone we were desperately in love with? Some might get sappy and sad about it. Se7en4 decided to get angry about it. Who’s to judge?

Se7en4 will be playing next Tuesday night at The Viper Room in Los Angeles along with House of Broken Promises, Remnants of Man, Galaxy Crusher and Burning Bettie. Their record, Let’s Get High and Fight, is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.