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Seer - Vol. III & IV: Cult Of The Void album review

Canadian sludge crew fail to count their blessings

This Vancouver sludge quartet’s 2016 debut album was a compilation of two EPs, hence its name, Vol 1 & 2. Vol III & IV is a rather more convoluted construction; not only has their numbering system belatedly switched to Roman numerals, but there were no corresponding short-form releases. So what constitutes a ‘volume’ on this 45-minute album seems unclear – except that the second half is mostly acoustic instrumentals, suffused in watery sound effects presumably intended to summon elemental atmospheres, but sounding more like it was recorded in a busy bathroom. The first four songs are much heavier, lurching across metallicsubgenres in a way that broadcasts Seer’s versatility but rarely seems to gel in a satisfying way. So the sluggish chugs and dense chords flirt with the profundity of Neurosis, but are then compromised by weedy attempts at black metal, tentative synths or a bit of breezy guitar-hero stoner rawk. The result is an album that twists and turns enthusiastically but doesn’t really end up going anywhere.