Seer are a quintet from Vancouver BC -why do people always put BC is there another Vancouver – I neither know nor care- what I do care about is the big noise these 5 boys make. (Edit – I have just seen that there are several other Seer’s around so this a “The English Beat “ thing)
This is their second album since forming in 2014 and they cite NWOBHM and Black Metal as their hunting grounds. They cite Ruins of Beverast , Candlemass and Blue Oyster Cult amongst their influences and these three stick their heads above the swampy soup for me.
Oath of Exile opens like a scene from John Carpenter’s The Fog. I almost look around for hook wielding seamen. Eerie wind, the tinking of bells (or is it ship masts) and synthesized strings this has 70’s cinema writ all over it. This serves as the journey into “Iron Worth Striking” which has vocalist Bronson Lee Norton alternate from soaring doom baritone to rasping distorted demon. The music is pretty Proggy but dragged through a dark forest at night, by someone in smudged corpse-paint. The rhythms remind me in part of Grand Magus interspersed with Beverast. The guitar lines are a little high pitched for me but certainly reminiscent of the NWOBHM that the band clearly love.
“Seven Stars, Seven Stones” has a driving doom riff interspersed with blackened spirals and Bronson gives his pipes a real bit of exercise – although he appears to go a little Le Bon Live Aid at one point. It is on this track that I lose focus as I think the band have. There are so many influences here both vocally and musically and everything feels a little gumbo. Is the vocal doom, death or Halford/Diamond scream or all three layered. The music also has so many bits that the ensuing sonic stew loses any subtlety or nuance.
“Frost Tulpa” however gets the balance right. A driving blackened doom track with plenty of orange squeezing and power stances to be had. Some truly disturbing atmospheres created within its 9 minutes. Guitars scream like banshees from the woods. This is awesome!
“As the Light Fades” strangely reminds me of Alice In Chains. There is certainly some grungy stoner swagger unleashed within and even a spot of Dave Vanian in the chorus. Fans of early Anathema will be hip to this groove. Closer “Prior Forms “ feels more like an intro into something orchestral and urgent and left me feeling a little unspent and longing. Not a bad way to end I suppose.
Seer have laid out a smorgasbord of styles and themes . As with any buffet not every dish is a hit but there are certainly some delights to be found and I will dine here again.
(6.5/10 Matt Mason)