Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sealclubber - "Stoical" (Album Review)

By: Charlie Butler
Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 05/02/2016
Label: Medusa Crush Recordings



Anyone who longs for the sludgy riffs, intricate structures and dissonant melody of early Mastodon, Baroness and Kylesa will be enraptured by this release.  “Stoical” is a phenomenal debut from Sealclubber. This is a record that marks them as a force to be reckoned with in the UK and beyond and sets the bar for gold-standard riffage in 2016.


“Stoical” CD//DD tracklisting:
1). Tales of a Romanian Horse Whisperer
2). Haima
3). Catalogue of Failings
4). St. Jude’s Waiting Room, Dead for 12 Days
5). Vow of Silence
6). I Only Desire the Things That Destroy Me

The Review:
Stourbridge is fast becoming an unlikely hotbed of punishing heaviness in the UK. Following Opium Lord’s awesome LP last year, Sealclubber’sStoical” is another crushing release from the Midlands town, the seismic impact of which is sure to be felt far beyond its borders.
This album has been a long time coming. Sealclubber whetted the appetite with a promising EP on local label Carnage Club in 2014, cementing their reputation with some powerful live shows. Their debut album exceeds all expectations though. Anyone who longs for the sludgy riffs, intricate structures and dissonant melody of early Mastodon, Baroness and Kylesa will be enraptured by this release.
Tales of a Romanian Horse Whisperer” begins with a shimmering haze of jagged guitars, soon shattered into oblivion by the sledgehammer impact of the band at full bore. Recalling the intensity and frantic complexity of Converge, the track switches between stop/start attacks and bursts of direct punk aggression. Sealclubber are at their most devastating when they lock into killer, hulking riffs, something they have an uncanny knack for. The foreboding intro of “Haima” and the sickening crunch which drags “St. Jude’s Waiting Room, Dead for 12 Days” into life are the finest examples of this here.
As the record progresses, Sealclubber add more dynamic shifts, demonstrating they are just as potent at lower volume. “Vow of Silence” takes their trademark weighty attack and expands the scope, spacious reverb swelling their ambition to epic proportions. Semi-instrumental finale “I Only Desire the Things That Will Destroy Me” provides the biggest surprise here. For the first half of the track the band create a hypnotic cloud of dense, effects-laden guitars and deftly restrained drums. Sounding like a cross between prime Mogwai and Bardo Pond’s quieter moments, Sealclubber cast an entrancing spell that lulls the listener into a false sense of security. This sea of calm makes the thunderous climax that follows all the more devastating.
Stoical” is a phenomenal debut from Sealclubber. This is a record that marks them as a force to be reckoned with in the UK and beyond and sets the bar for gold-standard riffage in 2016.   

Stoical” is available here

Band info: bandcamp | facebook

1 comment:

M Morgan said...

Great review. Love this album