ALBUM REVIEW: Seamount ‘Nitro Jesus’

Seamount Cover

SEAMOUNT
‘Nitro Jesus’
The Church Within Records, October 2015
6/10

Seamount are a bewildering proposition. At various points during this, the band’s fifth studio album, you get melancholic AC/DC (‘Beautiful Sadness’), bouncy 80’s soft rock (‘No One Knows’) and random punk-lite (‘In The End’).

The album kicks off like a mid-80s Black Sabbath, with a dollop of Judas Priest, and it seems immediately clear that Seamount, three years after the oddity of the ‘Earthmother’ album, are returning to their roots – namely: melodic, classic doom rock. ‘Can’t Escape the Pain’ ups the doom dosage, with a little Danzig-style drama for show. And then, proving that guitarist Tim Schmidt has lost none of his ability to concoct powerful riffs, the title track is a right hook of raucous stoner metal.

Things seem to be going in the right direction. And they get better still. Despite the overt sentimentality of its title, the song ‘Scars Of The Emotional Stuntman’ possesses musical subtlety and dexterity, drawing upon The Obsessed to re-establish that typical Seamount sound, if such a thing truly exists.

But just when the doom is beginning to take hold, there is a problem. ‘Hold Up The Sun’ is a hateful, cloying brain-fart of a love song. It’s like watching someone with a mental disorder being mocked on a TV talent show.

Life with Seamount is never dull, and even when you stumble across a song that you think simply doesn’t work, you know that there’s gong to be another twist around the corner. And so it is that the groovy hooks of ‘Bulletproof’ try to get the album back on track, but the damage has been done.

The second half of the album trundles onwards, pretending nothing happened… but it did happen, and in truth there are other sections on ‘Nitro Jesus’ that fall short of excellent, from the plaintive vocals of Phil Swanson to the heart-on-sleeve confessional lyrics to the occasional so-so riff. The good outweighs the dodgy, but it’s hard not to be distracted.

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