Seer – Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void (Released July 7, 2017 – Art of Propaganda)
I was at crossroads when it came time to listen to Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void: Do I wait to see Seer perform their new material live or do I listen prior to the show? As I flaked and failed to listen to any new music over the weekend the decision to skip reviewing anything this week and, instead, wait until their show with Anciients and Dead Quiet on Friday, became more and more favourable. Yet, as my Skype engagement got pushed later and I failed to find inspiration on the internets, I conquered my indolence and gave Cult of the Void a spin. Twas a great decision on my part as, what was becoming a boring Tuesday evening, turned to greatness by the presence of powerful and poignant doom metal.
As the title alludes, Cult of the Void is cleanly split into two halves: Vol. III is monstrous doom whereas Vol. IV is lilting and introspective.
Swirling spacey winds and a pulsating hum introduces Ancient Sands (Rot Preacher) before, suddenly, the guitars crash in with instant groove. The big clean echoing vocals and bouncing riffs make Vol. III. Constantly in motion, each of the four tracks follow a distinct theme while leaving the impression of numerous ideas stitched together. Seer effortlessly shift between these ideas with massive atmospheres soaked in impressive drumming and always revising riffs. Blanketed over this constant shifting motion are gorgeous echoing vocals. With riffs like granite falling from the sky, They Used Dark Forces introduces all the different vocal approaches in Seer’s arsenal as the victorious, echoing cleans uplift alongside the chilling harshes and crushing growl. The lead guitar pulls itself from the grimy depths of the granite weighted riffs to shred a thrilling solo before the track shifts into a space odyssey. Intergalactic/inter-cosmic in nature, the closing has clear darkwave elements (and the sound of whales?); it is like the entry to a Depeche Mode song that never begins. Burnt Offerings springs from the electronic tranquillity without warning with dirty riffs and small guitar licks for spice. The leads are super bluesy, almost Sabbath like, and stand to the forefront of the song, atop the constant barrage of drums and riffs.
Seer set aside the massive riffs and crushing drums for acoustic guitars and contemplative atmospheres on Vol. IV. The second half of Cult of the Void opens with a three part instrumental which slowly builds from pure acoustic jamming on I: Tribe of Shuggnyth to the ethereal atmosphere of II: Spirit River before flowing into the quiet and morose III: Passage of Tears. संसार, which Google translates to ‘world’ from Hindi, closes the album. Sounds of a nighttime campfire, the crackling and popping of wood and distant buzz of insects lull to open the track. An acoustic guitar is joined by the echoing vocals which lilt, bodyless, in the distance, like a voice from above. The track builds with lightly shaking cymbals and a looping acoustic lead which all dissolves into static and washes away to nothing.
Cult of the Void is an epic two part doom record which captures both ends of the musical spectrum by displaying heaviness and fragility. The first time I caught Seer live was in support of Ghost Bath and Astronoid. At the end of their set vocalist, Bronson Lee Norton proclaimed; “Now it’s time for the good bands to play!” But, you know what? Seer was one of the good bands to play that night and they are up and coming in a Vancouver metal scene that is pure excellence.
See y’all Friday night at the Rickshaw!