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Seamount : IV: Earthmother

Enough good tracks on Seamount's 4th full-length to keep it afloat for those who fancy a traditional, clean take on rockin' Doom.

Bavarian doomers Seamount have been industriously working away in Germany's underground since 2007, releasing four albums in only five years. This latest is, according to the band, a sort of self-discovery concept record, not religious or anything, but all about love and stuff. The presentation of the record is beautiful, like something Blut Aus Nord would do, and the musical approach my cuppa, so as long as we won't be getting any Place Of Skulls type worship song bullshit we should be alright.

The band is fronted by Phil Swanson, familiar as the face of both Briton Rites and Hour Of 13. This bespectacled hero wields his typical charismatic and chromatic wails with tons of emotion and vigour, and though he might not have a gravelly enough tone to his voice imbue the lyrics with any massive gravity, he nevertheless does a good job.

Andy Kummer and Tim Schmidt are also making their mamas proud here, unleashing sweet rocking riffs and highly tasty guitar solos once in a while. The title track's solo is fantastic, very Iommi. The clean guitars that open the album are pure class, trilling away like something you would hear on an Amorphis album (however the voiceover that accompanies it is a bit like something you would hear on a motivational self-help tape given away free with The Guardian). During the course of the album the lush clean guitars and wistful atmospheres are woven expertly into some brilliantly crafted songs though: 'Echoes' for example is really quite beautiful, Swanson honking mournfully away over some extremely pretty guitarwork. You don't have to even be a big doom guy to appreciate big rock ballads like this.

My complaint would be the sound of the album - the riffs themselves are great, but could do with a bit of extra heaviness to really hammer home. They are often accompanied by twanging clean guitars, so it might well have been the band's intention to craft a clearer sound for the record. You know, create a retro feel in a different way to what most doom bands are doing at the moment. Fair enough, it distinguishes them, but with terrific riffage like that in 'The Fool', for example, you sort of wish it would really blast out of yer speakers.

The album has some great stuff going on, and the atmosphere and instrumental bliss oft-apparent makes up for a lack of real heaviness: 'Surrender''s plummeting doom-rock riffs are very Martin-era Sabbath, and should also be easily digestible to fans of the latest Grand Magus, great crunchy rollercoasters punctuated by Swanson's strident vocals. 'Just For Fantasy' is a proper rocker, more in the recent Count Raven and again Grand Magus vein, booming infectiously away in fine form.

The second half of the record suffers in terms of songwriting though. 'Aphrodites Child' is another rocker, almost alternative in its sub-gothic trundle, but ultimately a bit dull. Then 'Isolation' is a bit too, I dunno, Velvet Revolver or something, all idle clean guitars and emotionless singing, though the C-part is pretty cool in its rockin' simplicity. At least the ferocious Dehumanizer/ Killing The Dragon vibe of 'Everything Divine' and a FUCKING awesome Witchfinder General cover brings us in for a smooth landing.

The good tracks here are enough to keep this album afloat mind, and for those who fancy a more traditional, clean take on rockin' doom than all the fashionable occultism the Ghost copycats are peddling, I'd recommend 'em right off the bat. I'd certainly be on board for future Seamount adventures; they've obviously got some chops when it comes to writing and performing songs - not that I am trying to sound like Sven Goren Erikson when he analysed the key to England's success in a football match he was commentating on by opining "we scored more goals than them", but really talented musicians plus some great songs is a rarer find than you might think. So that's something to be thankful for.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Surrender
2. The Fool
3. Echoes
4. Just for Fantasy
5. Earthmother
6. Aphrodites Child
7. Isolation
8. Do It Again
9. Everything Divine
10. Magic

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Seamount bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-11-21 by doom-metal.com
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