If you’re like me, you’ve been wishing that the Nine Inch Nails-Tool collaborative project called Tapeworm worked out. Imagine an industrial feel for some massive alternative metal riffs. We may never hear any of those alleged demoes never-to-be-released, but we can all imagine what those songs sounded like. Insert Kentucky industrial rock band The Seas, a quartet of amazing musicians unaffiliated with either of those bands, but have released what I can visualize that collaboration sounding like with their newest album “Give Up The Ghost” earlier this year. A more guitar-centered album than most industrial artists, we can all experience the conflicting feelings of tension and hope together as we play this album.
Taking the time and energy to create the best possible album they could, The Seas saw four years pass between their debut record “A Separation” and their latest album “Give Up The Ghost.” Being a self-produced album, I can imagine the hectic process to perfect each note, chord, and beat. With that said, the quality is absolutely astonishing; Crisp, crystal clear quality (say that five times fast). Not many artists can duplicate this same sonic experience even when hiring the best of producers and mixers. It really makes a difference to hear an album as clear as this one through better headphones, which I was lucky to have used my first play through. Everything comes across as more poignant, proving the dedication and desire of the band for you to enjoy this record. Breakneck rhythms, raw choruses, and seamless interludes; it’s everything you desire in a rock album.
The album begins with “Battlecry,” utilizing softer guitar arrangements that dramatically shift towards heavy rhythms. Michael Sliter’s vocals and Logan Powell’s guitar fills dominate the song throughout, but leave space for both drums and bass to explore the space left unoccupied. In fact, some of my favorite moments on “Give Up The Ghost” is the bass-heavy verses that remind me so much of older Tool songs. Despite being a slower paced song, it doesn’t feel like it to the listener because of the low tuning and overall bassy feel to the song. A painful scream closes off the song, which picks up where it left off in “Across The Earth.” Much of the album flows right into the next song, using drastic highs and lows to keep the listener’s mood in check.
Inserted throughout the album are shorter instrumental interludes that act as a buffer between emotionally toiling songs. It’s these songs that I appreciate the most on “Give Up The Ghost,” especially “Broken Bones,” “Premonition”, and “Into The Fray.” With an atmosphere of melancholic guitar and soundscapes of people talking and screaming in the background, I feel I’ve been dropped into the middle of a horror movie, only to wake up just in time for the delayed intro of “The Hunter.” The same can be said about “Into The Fray,” a lone piano arrangement containing the sound of heavy breathing slowly building until the closing seconds. These moments only accentuate the despair and panic the listener feels when listening to the album.
My favorite song off the album is the title track “Give Up The Ghost.” Its clean, soft introduction shimmers in your ears, allowing Sliter’s voice to make its way into the limelight. It is this song that he also performs at his best, especially in the song’s chorus and bridge section. I get goosebumps every time I hear him sing the line “Spread your wings / fly away from this,” beautifully performed, and complementing the somber nature of the band’s orchestrations. It is his performance on this album that will remain with the listener, urging them to experience those ups and downs again at the album’s end.
If I had one critique of this album, it’d be of something I normally don’t favor of in albums in general. The closing track, although brilliantly performed and a unique rendition, is “Sharona,” better known as the hit single “My Sharona” by The Knack. I am not a fan of bands that insert cover songs into their own LPs, especially using one as the dramatic closing track to an otherwise amazing album. Sure, many bands have done it over the years, especially Disturbed and their latest rendition of “The Sound of Silence” off their latest album. Whether it’s just me being picky or a sentiment shared by others, I just wish The Seas had picked a different song to end their album. Maybe they could instead perform “Sharona” in a live setting to add a little flair to their set?
Despite my trite complaint, “Give Up The Ghost” by The Seas will surely satisfy the urge for heavy rock with its mature compositions, superb production, and passionate drive. For fans of The Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode, and other industrial sounding projects, I highly recommend this album. You can support them by checking out their website, and by following them on Facebook and Twitter for band updates.