The sound of Connecticut trio Sea of Bones is custom built for hyperbole. It’s not surprising that such grand images of crushing mountains and monolithic oppression are trumpeted in reference to it, because in itself, it’s working in such extreme terms, proffering massive post-sludge churn through a wall of cabinets constructed for that very purpose by guitarist/vocalist Tom Mucherino, who’s joined in the purpose by bassist/vocalist Gary Amedy and drummer/vocalist Kevin Wigginton. Even the runtime of their self-release sophomore outing, The Earth Wants us Dead — to say nothing of the title, which sets its own extremity of terms — is a sprawl at 91 minutes, with the second of two discs consumed entirely by the near-40-minute title-track. “Fucking huge” is what they do, and they do it loud.
It’s been six years since Sea of Bones made their full-length debut with 2007’s The Harvest (review here), and though they’ve dispensed in the interim with the song-titles-as-chapter-numbers methodology of that record and the prior 2006 EP, Grave of the Mammoth, the aesthetic drive toward largesse remains consistent in their approach. An easy atmospheric comparison point is Neurosis, but once they depart from the ambient intro to tracks like “The Bridge,” “Failure of Light” and “Black Arm,” Sea of Bones are less likely than the Oakland post-metal forebears to interrupt forward momentum — however slow and lurching it might be and often is — with ambient exploration. That’s not to say the album lacks mood. The title-track is constructed largely of a droning progression that eventually meets with far-back, echoing plod, and even as punishing and anguished as “Beneath the Earth” gets, it never completely departs from its brooding beginnings, so there’s plenty of environ-building going on, it’s just all very, very bleak, and where Neurosis might be on a spiritual quest for some kind of connection to authenticity via land or ancestry — a noble enough quest and not one I’d belittle — at least sonically, Sea of Bones seem to be saying that and just about everything else is futile and pointless.
The Earth Wants us Dead is not an easy album to digest — more likely to be digested by it — but Sea of Bones have more to offer than inhuman tonal weight and thunderous crash with throaty shouts trying to cut through the fray only to be buried like everything else. As you make your way through “Black Arm” on the player below and hear the nods to Through Silver in Blood in the vocal tradeoffs and the overarching rumble, keep in mind the radical mindset that could produce such monstrously scathing product and it’ll quickly become clear why everything you’ve seen about the band to this point speaks in absolutes.
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Sea of Bones‘ The Earth Wants us Dead is coming soon, and the band will play in New Haven, CT, on Oct. 23 with Stone Titan, Terminator 2 and Gowl. More info on that and the album release at the links that follow.Connecticut, Sea of Bones, Sea of Bones The Earth Wants us Dead, The Earth Wants us Dead, Unsigned bands