Legend of the Seagullmen have already earned a moniker that is perhaps overused these days, but definitely used correctly for this particular gathering of musicians: ‘supergroup’. With members of rock royalty from Mastodon and the ever-elusive Tool, Legend of the Seagullmen are here with their self-titled debut album. Will it sink or swim?
Kicking the album off from the quayside in a suitably nautical theme, comes album opener, “We are the Seagullmen”. The track feels like a warm-up, no huge issue here but with little else to write home about. The guitar melodies and both drum and bass parts are suitably intricate, but feel restrained, as though the band are just finding pace with one another.
“The Fogger” tails on in much the same vein; or at least for the opening couple of minutes. If the opening track was simply the departure into deeper waters, “The Fogger” is the descent into a mid-ocean tempest by the end of its near six-minute running time, with an increasing tempo culminating in a blistering, yet somehow effortless solo. Later we get the second storm of a song, “Legend Of The Seagullmen”. Lightning fast from the start, the song sails right on through the legend (and power) of the seagull God-king, the Seagullmen, and how they can’t really be explained. Considering the usual depth and raw nature of the lyrics from Tool and somewhat brutal side of Mastodon, it’s a little jarring to hear.
We aren’t held prisoner by this hurricane speed, however. “Shipswreck” brings a clear difference in tempo and tone more akin to one half of the supergroup’s influence, Tool. With a slow, chord-led pace with a melodic and ominous tone, the doom-laden track thunders along until cawing gulls lead us out. Another track clearly feeling influence from Tool, comes “The Orca”. Breaching through a haze of warped and twisted screeches from a guitar and a complex maelstrom of drums comes this ominous and threatening piece. As beautifully engineered as the rest of the album, the guitar weaves across the soundstage as though the instrument has been placed on a separate boat and is drifting at the mercy of the current.
Not content to showcase off merely their heavy metal umbrella of influences is “The Curse Of The Red Tide”. Beginning with an electro-acoustic ballad-like guitar the track does admittedly descend into more nautical chaos by the end, but is in keeping with the concept of the album: nautical rock fed by deep sea lore, and an overarching feeling that this song is one hell of a shanty. Ending with whispering (well… softly growled) notes from vocalist Brett Hinds, it leads us out in the same style we came in.
“Rise of the Giant” follows this acoustic entry theme, for a time at least before dropping into a hard rock ballad. It’s still excellent work, but for some reason felt a little messy in comparison to the rest of the album being so polished. The album feels like – and definitely is – a concept work, filled with nautical imagery and lyrics; it’s inescapable and hugely consistent. If you listened to (and liked) Primus’ The Desaturating Seven (which I reviewed), then you’ll likely find a lot to love with this album. Tailing the album off in much the same way Primus enter their aforementioned work with words, ‘this is the ballad of the Deep Sea Diver‘, the name of our final song, and what a ballad it is.
Slow and poetic, written and sung in a ballad structure, we’re even treated to a gorgeous solo (not just guitar) that freewheels over the final two minutes of the track whilst the sailor-style chorus of vocals keeps a constant hum to anchor the piece as brass and strings get introduced for a truly climactic finish.
If concept albums float your boat, then this album demands your attention. If you’re a fan of Mastodon and/or Tool, then this album demands your attention. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if pirates started a band (and weren’t Alestorm) then this demands your attention. The album is new, fresh and nothing short of fascinating.
Pop in to your local Richer Sounds and test out this unique album on one of our great hi-fi systems today.
Author: Steve, Southgate store