1. Sea Sleeper – Salt
2. Sea Sleeper – Old Guard
3. Sea Sleeper – Coffin Salesman
4. Sea Sleeper – Mountain Carver
5. Sea Sleeper – George Van Tassel
6. Sea Sleeper – Nostophobia
7. Sea Sleeper – Far More than Sustenance Now
8. Sea Sleeper – Low
Sea Sleeper are a death metal band from Portland, Oregon, on Metal Assault Records. They will be releasing their highly anticipated debut album ‘Nostophobia’ (an abnormal fear of returning home) on 5th February, 2021. They have been inspired by groups such as Gorgus, Gojira and Mastodon. Even though they fuse a number of different genres together, their sound is as coherent as it is complicated. This trio have played in bands together for over a decade and are working towards an exciting new horizon. Their debut single ‘Nihilism’ alone has gained them a sizeable number of listens and fans and they are quickly becoming the premier extreme act of their region.
For death metal, this stuff is pretty proggy and therefore you can expect many rhythms that sure will frustrate those who have an obsessive need for order. These guys know how to turn everyday ideas into stuff that can’t be comprehended by most mere mortals. It’s not as if you get Meshuggah style polyrhythms here, with the drummer seemingly doing his own thing but you do get the whole band fused together at all times. Their ability to memorise their songs is incredible as they are often quite lengthy and super-complex. The listener may come to the conclusion that the band are often over reliant on extreme syncopation and on riffs that are somewhat typical in note choices much of the time, but there are many other times when the musicians are more creative in all areas. Obviously they are highlights and there’s nothing wrong with being made to wait for them, even if they could be better.
As this is death metal, expect plenty of shouty vocals. There are clean vocals too, but the melodies the singer sings are a little uninventive and forgettable. They’re not bad, but compared to the shouty-melodic ideas of Slipknot, (e.g. ‘Wait and Bleed’) they’re far from anything special. They do add to the eerie atmosphere, but that’s pretty much it. Like the riffs, sometime more daring note choices are to be desired. Whilst the production isn’t super perfected on computer, it is still powerful and the bass drums pound relentlessly. Even better and unlike lesser bands, they don’t blitz from the album’s start to its finish. The relative moderation is certainly appreciated.
In conclusion, whilst the amount of twists the poor riffs go through is extensive, the riffs themselves are mostly standard. Expect tons and tons of dissonance, detuned chromatic wigouts and furious chordal stabs, rather than demonstrations of advanced harmonic and melodic theory. Sure, death metal isn’t supposed to impress the likes of Mozart or Bach, but it would be nice if the riffs matched the intelligence of the rhythm section. Just because something is complicated, it doesn’t mean it can’t be heavy (think darker Dream Theater). The thought that Sea Sleeper are proggy in some ways and not in others may seem strange, but to be fair they don’t sound weird at all. This is recommended but there are flaws.