REVIEW: LEGEND OF THE SEAGULLMEN – “Legend Of The Seagullmen”
Within the metal community, both Tool and Mastodon have more than made their mark, with projects and collaborations pouring out of every which way. But when you throw legendary Tool drummer Danny Carey and the shredding beast that is Mastodon’s Brent Hinds in a blender, along with film director and apparent guitarist Jimmy Hayward, the severely underrated but nevertheless emerging bassist Pete Griffin, vocalist David “The Doctor” Dreyer, Chris DiGiovanni on synth, and a third guitarist in Tim Dawson. And as the season commands, there’s probably a partridge in a pear tree in there somewhere – you (eventually) get Legend Of The Seagullmen.
What better way to begin a new year than with the self-titled, debut album from a supergroup of pirates who give off crazy Tenacious D vibes? For the record, that pretty much sums this loony sextet.
“We Are The Seagullmen” is the band’s literal introduction to their audience, making it very clear early on that this will be an album filled with guitar solos and marine-based storytelling. “The Fogger” takes a slightly darker turn, getting into more doom-like territory, with a decent drum solo from Carey. Then comes the single, “Ships Wreck”, which is definitely the track where the synth is most prevalent. However, like the entire album, it is still very much guitar-driven.
The opening of “The Curse Of The Red Tide” possesses the most Tenacious D-like part of the album, with frontman Dreyer telling the tale of a legendary sea monster atop soft, emotional piano. I quite like the relationship between all of the instruments on this track in particular, although it still follows the same template as the rest. The quiet ending of the story winds down, and becomes my favourite of the eight tracks, the thrilling and thoroughly danceable “Legend Of The Seagullmen”. Between the theremin-like synth, the wailing southern guitar, and the fact that I’ve been prone to bursting into the chorus at any given time since I heard it, it is without doubt the catchiest and most amusing of the lot. Even the lyrics perfectly sum up exactly what this album is: “That’s right, this is entertainment… it’s the legend of the power of the seagullmen.”
“The Orca” is another highlight of the record, containing a great ominous guitar riff with a sludgy quality that creates the illusion that you really are stranded out to sea, fearing the deadly whale that encircles your vessel. Having covered a few similar creatures thus far, it was only a matter of time until our new favourite heroes encountered a giant squid, and “Rise Of The Giant” does not disappoint. The finale comes in the form of another single, “Ballad Of The Deep Sea Diver”. It goes smoothly from a western-sounding showdown to an epic soundtrack of orchestral strings and horns, complete with hand cymbals to emphasize just how grandiose and daring being a costumed naval musician can be.
As mentioned above, ‘Legend Of The Seagullmen’ is a very guitar-based album. However, as most of the shredding solos and even the general approach seems to be in the style of Brent Hinds, I don’t think it’s really necessary to have three guitarists. I am unfamiliar with the other two, but it’s often difficult to hear anything else – which, to be fair, has a lot to do with the mix. There are a few occasions where a solo will come in much too loud and overpower things. Pete Griffin’s bass playing is primarily there for backbone, but it would be nice to be able to hear him through all the treble end. And while Danny Carey pulls off some really tight fills throughout, it goes without saying that the expectation of how revolutionary his drumming used to be will always impede some fans from appreciating this simpler style (particularly when the band’s promo photo shows him with his third eye open).
Legend Of The Seagullmen aren’t a band of minstrels – they are a band of seafaring, Kraken-fighting superheroes, like the pirate version of The Avengers – and they are more than happy to let you know. From “We Are The Seagullmen” to “Ballad Of The Deep Sea Diver”, we see characters like Captain Redbeard (which I like to assume is Hinds) emerge, amongst giant whales, crying dolphins, and other terrifying and unnamed nautical creatures. While this is far more of a straight-up heavy metal type of album than I normally listen to, I greatly enjoyed the tales of the Seagullmen’s adventures, and am choosing to laugh and headbang rather than debate the potential of a Mastodon-Tool mashup. To summarize, if this album were to be released with an accompanying comic book, I would totally buy that.