Since their inception back in 2014, Vancouver’s Seer have been a major force in the epic narrative department even if their music didn’t always follow suit. If there’s ever been a case in doom metal of “been there, done that” it’s the first four Volumes in this series that screams it. But with Vol. 5 being a jaw dropping realization that they might have finally sniffed their sound, Vol. 6 takes that realization and seals it in granite. Simply put, this is the band’s finest hour as they weave yet another grandiose tale.
Depending on who you talk to or what you read, Vol. 6 is Seer’s second full length. But, this is their first REAL full length and not a compilation of two volumes as they’ve done in the past. I am also aware that nobody cares about that stuff but me. Anyway, it’s fitting that this particular volume is a full length. And even more fitting is the fact that they have finally found, and stick to, a sound that matches their grand storytelling. Musically, doom, and to a smaller extent sludge, has always been the skeletal backbone but Volumes 1 – 4 were disjointed and lacked a particular vision to say the least. Was it doom rock? Was it progressive doom? Was it doom folk? All of the above? None of the above? We don’t really know but I will say that even though these first four Volumes are ‘out there’ musically, in the context of all six Volumes as a whole they all represent a body of work that is as engrossing as your favorite book series. Meaning that, the whole is needed to completely understand its parts. Very long story made very short (and without all the intricacies): travelers on a pilgrimage across a barren plane discover a doomsday device and, as is usually the case, they flip the switch and BOOM, it’s all over. Vol. 6 picks up with a monk on yet another pilgrimage to right this wrong and return the world to pre-switch tripping travelers. It truly is a tale older than time itself, give someone an easy button to the end of everything and short bets are on they’ll push it.
The real success here, over anything else the band has done, and including the third eye results of Vol. 5, is in the music itself. Simply put, it stays on point. Now, that might sound simpleton and stupid but seriously, these six tracks are FINALLY as epic as its storyline. “Oath of Exile” is a mood piece of an opener in the vein of how a proper soundtrack can set the proper mood and “Iron Worth Striking” sets the band’s intent as one of forward thinking yet heavy as lead doom. Later, “Frost Tulpa” is unnerving and cold with black metal screams and “As the Light Fades” intertwines a few more blastbeats and sorrowful riffs aplenty with unfettered ease. Even with all this newfound musical might, it’s centerpiece “Seven Stars, Seven Stones” that stands out the most with its thoughtful melodies and structuring. And, it’s the best example of just how focused Seer is at present along with showing just how much they’ve grown in the short time they’ve been a band. Some may take exception to closer “Prior Forms” as a less than stellar excuse to exit the album or just to fill out a tracklist, but it’s the other half of moody bookends that present a cinematic exit from a story that we haven’t heard the last of – cliffhanger, if you will. But, we won’t know for sure until Vol. 7.
If you’ve been paying attention to Seer from the beginning, there’s a level of maturity here that can only be defined as learning from past mistakes, there’s just no denying it. However, if you’re just now picking up on the band, start from the beginning and make your way back to Vol. 6 before throwing out any dire assumptions – time wise, it won’t take long but there’s so much material there that helps to define just how good Vol. 6 is and exactly why this is the case – in terms of results and reward, it can’t get much better than that.
Vol. 6 will be available February 8 on Artoffact Records. For more information on Seer, visit their Facebook page.