Sea of Bones - The Earth Wants Us Dead | Review

Sometimes people want to listen to music that makes them feel good. Sometimes just to party. Sometimes they need to connect with something to realize they're not alone with how they feel. Sometimes they listen because they love a good riff or to sing along in the car. And sometimes they just want to listen to music to feel pain. That's where Sea of Bones comes in. Just imagine the pain inflicted to create a sea of bones. Now manifest that into massive riffs and galaxy-melting tone and you have The Earth Wants Us Dead.

Sea of Bones harness the destructive energy locked beneath the earth and use it to pulverize the listener with tectonic force. If the earth wants us dead, nothing shall stand in her way. Just as nothing stands in the way of the huge riffs and soul-destroying tone here.

For the first five tracks, Sea of Bones lay down ultra-slow motion funeral doom balanced by slightly quicker movements brought on by momentum alone. It's like sitting at the top of a mountain, feeling the earth move deep beneath you until tumbling toward your end, breaking everything including your spirit on the way down. Over and over. Not to say there's no variation.

“Black Arm”, the shortest track at 7:02 feels chaotic and unsettling. The monstrous and apocalyptic vocals are as demanding as they are elsewhere but an almost black metal atmosphere runs underneath lava flows of doom. As the foundations of life decay in the track's dying moments, one can almost feel death's dying breath in oneself.

Atmosphere shines through elsewhere as well in the melancholic guitar on the following three tracks. Their emotional core and quieter opening are inevitably flattened by vocals conjured from the earth's core and the heaving riffs growling with the definition of heaviness. The listener is pummelled and bludgeoned under gruelling sludge and thick-as-tar doom, concluding with a rumbling, crumbling, grinding end. These are the kind of tracks that sap the energy and will from your soul. They compress your being into a dense mass of fear.

Then we have the title track. (For those who still buy CDs, it's actually a second disc.) For nearly 40 minutes Sea of Bones drone with a desolate ambience. It's as if the Earth had her wish and all that left is dust in the wind. Dramatic percussion and waves of ethereal noise give the track a sense of drama, reaching a climax of sorts with around eight minutes to go. The next seven are somber indeed, and the last, distant voices.

The Earth Wants Us Dead is a massive record built on huge tone and a grand sense of scale. Most importantly it's an album about feeling the weight of a thousand worlds pressing down on you as you cower with insignificance. At over an hour thirty, it's a test of will to be sure, but when the mood for doom strikes, head for the Sea of Bones.

Matt Hinch

Band info:

Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @MetalMatt_KofN.