SEES: Theend – Music Review
By Eric Stuckart
The amount of influence that Meshuggah has had over the metal scene in the last decade or so has been immeasurable. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t deny what they did with what a lot of purists argue is a very derivative and simplistic style, but the sheer power of their approach allowed for a lot of deviation.
That being said, it’s hard to miss the obvious influence that the Swedes had over the inception of SEES, and their self-released (and completely free!) full length album, The enD. Along with dashes of Mnemic — another like-minded metal group — and Periphery’s more progressively-tinted shades of polyrhythmic metal, The enD is one of those albums that for the most part only goes one speed, but it does it really, really well, especially for a new band.
However, some might have a problem shaking the obvious Meshuggah comparisons enough to really enjoy what they have to offer. Some songs, like “Cripple me with Despair,” almost sound like something that would have come off of the aforementioned band’s Nothing album. If it weren’t for Bryan Malke’s more melodic singing voice at times, it’d be really hard to not mistake him for Meshuggah’s Jens Kidman. However, it is those melodic clean parts, where the band breaks from the rhythmic pounding from time to time to play something a little more progressive that makes them stand out. The melodic breaks help keep the band from sounding like they’re just being aggressive for aggression’s sake, and it’s an interesting ingredient to their mix. Considering the fact that their music is very brooding and deliberately paced, it’s a very nice respite from the status quo.
My personal favorites off the album are “Nonsense” and “Hidden.” The former has a more proggy melody behind the main riff, and throws a tasteful, slightly noodly solo into the middle of it to kind of break up the sonic pummeling, while the latter has a great melodic chorus that showcases Malke’s more emotive singing style.
The album is bookended by “Inhale” and “Exhale,” respectively, two tracks that show them playing a little out of their comfort zone. The intro track is much faster-paced than anything else on the album, and as it bleeds into “Stare,” it really sets the pace for the record and gets the blood pumping. “Exhale,” much like the intro, is lead into from its preceding track, and is textured and atmospheric. These two tracks show something that that the other tracks don’t really show the band pull off — variety in their sound — and its something that I think they should explore a little more on future releases.
For relatively unheard of band, I’m really impressed by how developed their sound is on this release. They’ve been around in one form or another for the past decade, but with this being their first full length release they sound like a veteran band that has a number of albums under their belt. There’s a certain quality to their songwriting and a tightness to the musicianship on The enD that shows a band that have fine tuned their sound to a science. That’s something that isn’t always present in many bands’ debut albums. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if this release gets them a little more attention from the metal community, let alone a label.
At the end of the day, SEES sound like a more streamlined, less wanky Periphery. Where Periphery temper their aggression with progressive tendencies, SEES takes the better elements from slower-paced, and arguably nü metal sounding influences. Like I said, it’s pretty straightforward, and doesn’t venture too much outside of the limited boundaries that they set for themselves, but in my opinion that doesn’t really hurt the final product.
Download TheenD at seesdownload.com.
Photo from seesdownload.com.