Bludgeoning the senses with the same barbarism as its creator’s name would suggest, Stoical is a nastily and invasively compelling proposition that leads to a greed for more. The release is the debut album of UK band Sealclubber, a tempest exploring the potential found in the band’s first release back in 2013 whilst breeding new intrigue and promise to get wound up in. As their sound, the album is as corrosive as it is adventurously imaginative and certainly not going to be for everyone, but with its ferocious blending of sludge metal with crust infested hardcore and post metal ambiences, it is a proposal confirming Sealclubber as an impressively challenging incitement for ears and emotions.
Hailing from the Black Country, the Sealclubber stepped forward late 2012 and swiftly sparked attention and acclaim in the underground scene the following year with their Witch Hunter Records/ Carnage Club released Sticky River EP. Also nudging mainstream media focus in certain quarters with their first offering, the Stourbridge quartet backed up their potent emergence with a praise luring live presence which soon spread across the UK. 2015 was a quieter affair with line-up changes and setbacks but now the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Simon Blewitt, guitarist Joe Parkes, bassist Stephen Williams, and drummer Simon Ingram are ready to infest the world with their sludge punk trespasses through Stoical which is unleashed courtesy of North American label Medusa Crush Recordings.
Band and release consume the senses in epic style with its nine minute opener Tales of a Romanian Horse Whisperer. Instantly an atmospheric bitterness confronts ears as climate and guitars boil with their relative intent until it all explodes in a ravenously rousing hardcore/punk ‘n’ roll onslaught led by the throat bred squalls of Blewitt. No mercy is given by the raging yet it is soon showing another side to its nature by twisting and turning in on itself with stabbing rhythms and a creative discordance which is not that far removed from post punk and math core agitation. The track continues to masterfully and enthrallingly roar through a host of flavours infused into its volatile hardcore trespass; every new turn the giver of mouth-watering enterprise and imagination and a ferocity of heart and attack. At one point the guitars are spiced with a spicing which is best described as Devo-esque but as everything, rabid through to atmospheric, it evolves into another freshly magnetic intrusion in the blink of an intimidated eye.
The outstanding start is matched in sonic kind and rhythmic antagonism by Haima; a predatory violation led in, amidst a collage of guitar cast venom, by the dirtiest primal bassline likely to be heard this year. Tar thick yet blisteringly athletic, the track infests body and psyche with its creative vehemence and raw vocal animosity. It too provides a horde of riveting hooks and anthemic turns from within a destructive fever before stepping aside for Catalogue of Failings which uncages its own doom seeded depression of tone and emotion. Like a hungry bog on Dartmoor, the song sucks the senses and imagination into an unforgiving animus of emotionally corrupted sound, proceeding to prowl around them with hostility thereon in whilst suffocating any light or hope which might make a defence to the thrilling creative pestilence.
Leaving a lingering impact, the song slips into St Jude’s Waiting Room, Dead For 12 Days and a haunting imagination sparking interlude/detour resembling a limbo-esque netherworld which inspires different ideas to its presence with every listen. It in turn flows into the stark and cold landscape of Vows of Silence and initially another great post punk like coaxing before the track descends on the listener with rancor and corrosive intensity. The song takes a moment out as the wake from its initial assault continues to resonate before exploring a tempestuous and emotionally provocative post metal/ambience sculpted landscape which in turn only builds itself up into another fearsome outpouring.
I Only Desire The Things That Will Destroy Me In The End completes the release, its twelve minute instrumental a darkly cinematic and emotional flight through sinister atmospherics and melancholic ambience. It too is a canvas for the imagination to adventurously explore whilst closing Stoical with a fiercely dramatic yet seemingly accepting embrace of emotional suffering and turbulence.
In some ways Stoical is an incitement of two halves; its first trio of tracks are a gloriously and creatively volatile theatre of craft and virulent enterprise with the final three immersions into dark and debilitating depths and emotions. They are two plateaus though which thrill and increasingly impress as Sealclubber more than live up to their early promise and the more demanding expectations bred within the anticipation for its release.
Stoical is released on February 5th via Medusa Crush Recordings on CD, limited cassette form, and digitally with a vinyl version possibly on the cards later.
Pete RingMaster 05/02/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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