01. You're the one we've been waiting for..., 02. Judas, 03. Human Condition, 04. Lost at Sea, 05. The Great Wave, 06. A Separation, 07. United / Divided, 08. Paper Moon, 09. Paper Sky, 10. Meltdown
It's quite difficult to stay neutral when a concept album in the vein of A Separation is wrapped up with such a huge emotional charge. It comes like the attraction of a first love - it opens up, steals one's soul completely, then it leaves the fragile human dry, crying for more.
What's important, A Separation is The Seas debut album. Most bands usually shape their style with time to sound their best on their 2nd or 3rd releases (unless they've quit a previous project that has already released a debut album). When listeners come across The Seas music, they cannot say "I've heard that song before" or "What was that band name?" They will simply say it's The Seas and that the band is nothing but pure talent.
Regardless of their influences (such as Nine Inch Nails and Tool) whose music has been copied by many musicians, The Seas do have a distinct, particular sound of their own and they can remain confident about it. The influence of NIN can be heard throughout Logan Powell's guitar riffs ("The Great Wave", "Paper Moon") while Jeremy Williams' bass lines as well as Rich Sester's drum beats recall the groovy, yet dark moods of Tool songs ("Judas", "Human Condition", "The Great Wave", "A Separation"). However, the closest match to their music may be a band called f.e.v.e.r. from Portugal and the sound of their 4st - Fourst album. This is mainly due to some songwriting concepts and minor similarities when it comes to atmospheres.
If you must label music, then music by The Seas has been tagged as 'industrial rock'. It may draw the attention of many listeners, however it's not the pure industrial rock we've gotten used to. The band uses samplers programmed by Rich Sester to intensify the songs. Samples fill in the background of tracks like "You're The One We've Been Waiting For...", "Paper Moon", "Paper Sky", "Lost At Sea" or "United/Divided". This post-production technique deepens the impact of the music on the listener's perception. Thanks to atmospheric and melodic compositions, the music sounds closer to alternative rock than industrial rock, however the sampling makes the overall sound comply with the second above mentioned genre as well.
The vocals give A Separation unique character. Not only will Michael Sliter's ( ) voice steal your attention, but it may steal your heart too. The vocals release maximum emotional impact and are passionate, yet very far from falling into the abyss of hysteria. His voice operates within a wide vocal range so that he can sing in harmony ("Human Condition", "The Great Wave", "Meltdown") as well as scream low or snarl ("A Separation", "United/Divided", "Paper Sky"), but he doesn't sing out of tune in any case. His clear, distinctive, memorable, well controlled and professional voice gives the song additional significance. Michael accents every single word and verse of the lyrics on this album. This is what makes the meaning of the music even more powerful. When he's singing, the listeners body will respond and make them feel like they want to sing along with him. It's a huge advantage to have such a voice in a guitar driven band.
There's very good collaboration between the musicians and they avoid showing off their talents in an overbearing manner. The songwriting and compositional structures aren't complicated, however they are arranged extremely well. The tracks were specifically created with each instrument in mind as though they were created for a classical orchestra and set in a manner which would feature their sounds fully and thus let them build specific moods. The band efficiently operates within the confines of both sound and silence while utilizing techniques such as muting instruments in spots where other instruments come in to take part.
Listeners may remember an instrumental track entitled "Lost At Sea" very well. The sounds of digitalized dolphin-esque voices and mysterious whispers coming as if from the depths of the sea are interlaced with waves of guitars.
"A Separation" will open you up, tear you apart, then leave you dry. It comes in silently and pleasantly with a funny disco intro, then turns into a powerful rock'n'metal composition as intense as a hurricane ripping through your soul. It is a song certain to have a huge impact on sensitive ears and wandering souls thanks to both the attractive vocals, the song structures and an overall performance.
The song "You're The One We've Been Waiting For..." is an intro to "Judas", then "Paper Moon" makes an atmospheric space for "Paper Sky" to come along next. Both are connected and cross over extremely well. Additionally, in each intro the lyrics include a verse pertaining to the previous song title. "Paper Sky" is as meaningful and recognizable for the sound of The Seas as "A Separation", and both songs should be promoted as often as possible.
Fans of melodic, yet emotional tracks may also enjoy "Meltdown" which is the track that completes this album. The first quiet seconds of "You're The One We've Been Waiting For..." are mixed very well with the song. Techniques such as this provide the listener with the most impact from this album when played in rotation.
You can't go wrong with arrangements that are crafted so well and allow the songs to be so inspiring. Each musician works hard while collaborating with the lead singer's vocals. This is what makes the songs so memorable. These intelligent and very intense rock songs contain real spirit which even the best known top Billboard songs seemingly lack these days. Music by The Seas may turn out to be timeless, leaving their sound as intriguing in 2012 as it can become 15 years from now.
This sort of music however needs a closed venue for the purpose of live shows. It might require a high end sound system to make the most out of The Seas music in a live context. Their vibe is simple, yet rich in moods and thus the silence plays a huge role in the overall song structures. Any feedback caused in a live setting due to bad wiring or microphone setups could ruin the atmospheres of the songs.
The band has been working on a new EP, but it seems this should be no problem for them to make another release that is just as good as A Separation. They shouldn't hurry with their next release either. It takes years to make meaningful music. The entire process can be compared to writing a novel that withholds a tight yet unique storyline.
A Separation could be a life changing experience, but a spiritual catharsis is guaranteed. This band deserves a lot of exposure from the music press, TV, radio as well as possibly being featured on compilations and in movies as well. Many opportunities should start dropping like rain when The Seas music goes viral. Hopefully their songs will be purchased as often as listened to.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, , April 17th, 2012)
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=423
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