Published: June 14, 2017
On paper, pairing an atmospheric, post-rock influenced, Folky, Stoner entity such as Black Tremor with as grand a Black/Doom act as Sea Witch might sound like a bit of a stretch. Really though, they've a lot more in common than you might think. Both are instrumental, both use a fairly minimalist approach, and both undoubtably share a desire to express a certain existential misery and vastness in their music. Black Tremor, for example, evoke the expansive, bitterness of the windswept prairies in their native Canada and Sea Witch have been all too effectively conjuring the majesty of the oceans for some time now from their home in Nova Scotia, drawing inspiration from both the darkness beneath the waves and the light above.
The Black Tremor tracks are a Parts 1 and 2 affair comprised of Bass guitar, Drums and Violin and really, you have to stand in awe at the sophisticated use of just these three instruments. A simple enough Post-rock beginning begins to evolve into slightly more familiar Stoner territory but ever holding back from ever going full-blown. As the first track progressed and the violin drawled and droned along with some clever bass guitar work, The music evokes the emotive soundtrack of an independent movie about dysfunctional people in cold, harsh environments failing to overcome the seemingly shoddy hand dealt them. Sounds dramatic? It is. It is also highly hypnotic. If you like Dylan Carlson's Earth and their ilk, I can't see any reason at all why you wouldn't love this.
Sea Witch bring three tracks to the party and seem to have a slightly sludgier sound than the Blackened Doom on their previous outings. When I say sludgier I mean Sludge in the way that Moss were sludgy in tone, on their early releases. They also sound a tad crisper in production this time, but only ever so slightly. Both bands share a Drone element to their music, and the guitar lines sweep around like desperate albatrosses over huge waves. It's far from a pretty picture though, Sea Witch cut no slack from their usual depressive fare. This is bleak. Really bleak. Again, if you enjoyed 'The Blackened Sea' and appreciate instrumental Doom, Sea Witch have done nothing to sully their name as one of the genre's leading underground lights. For me, the opening numbers by Black Tremor are more immediately the pick of the bunch, mainly because despite the quality of the tracks, you kind of know what you're going to get with Sea Witch, whereas Black Tremor's contributions are a welcome, if only a slight, deviation from the norm. However, the Sea Witch offerings are real growers, especially if you enjoy the subtle changes they've made to their sound. I like split releases on the whole, with their two for the price of one ethics. I like this one. Whilst there are obvious differences in styles, from more of an objective standpoint, both bands can comfortably claim equal footing in producing five imposing 'hypnotic dirges' for our times.
Reviewed by: Mike Liassides
Posted by Nick Skog. Posted In : English