Doom metal as a genre can get bogged down in a lot of clichés and expectations. From prolonged drawn-out riffs and heavy crushing crescendos to some affinity with either demons or weed, there are many stereotypes that follow the genre around. So when a band takes a truly different approach to the genre, it really can make listeners’ ears prick up and pay attention. That’s where Boston-based outfit SEED come in.
The self-proclaimed experimental doom four-piece bring an element of vulnerability to their sound and a somewhat softer edge to a style that is usually shrouded in sinister fuzz. The band’s debut full-length Dun Pageant brings a haunting nature to the driving instrumentation often associated with doom. Whilst many bands in the genre pride themselves on creating this wall of sound through their music, SEED produce a sense of occasion and at times a theatrical feel to what they have created, building atmosphere through the rhythm of the drums, which are complemented by intricate guitar riffs instead of being drowned in feedback and reverb.
Album opener ‘Poison’ gives a clear sense of what SEED are all about, bringing in soft guitars which are layered by the beautifully haunting voice of vocalist Lux Lucidi. But as the track reaches its conclusion, Lucidi becomes more unhinged and the track ends with his laughter turning into a maniacal scream and then again into a fearful cry. Displaying emotional range so clearly and in such a short but impactful segment of the track ensures that it will cut right through your poise and chill you to your core.
As wonderful as the musicianship on this record is, proving restrained and at times even serene whilst still injecting a sense of unease into proceedings, Lucidi’s openness, coupled with raw vocals, makes his performance the stand-out here.
On ‘Pits’ the visceral screams completely contradict the calmness of the music, making the emotions of the track even more powerful, with the lyric “It’ll be my turn, drown in the blood of your oppressor” standing out even amongst the terrified screams.
Contrary to other bands in the genre, most of SEED’s songs clock in around the four-to-five minute mark. By all accounts, the record is by no means a slog. In fact, the album actually flies by, but rather than being a flaw it leaves you wanting more, and diving back in to see what else you can discover is a real treat.
Closing out with their longest track (coming in just over eight minutes), ‘I Need Water’ shows the band at their most stripped back and puts Lucidi’s vocal range front and centre once again.
There are so many nuanced elements on Dun Pageant that just one cursory listen does not do it justice. Like a good computer game, once you’ve completed it you want to go back and do all the side quests. With Dun Pageant, SEED has created a debut that unfurls more of itself with each passing listen, making it even more beautiful and impactful.
Dun Pageant will be released on 5th March. You can hear the single “Seaweed” here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck