Seagrave
Stabwound
()

Don’t always trust tags that someone pulls out of their ass; always listen and decide for yourself.  The labelling of “post-rock/blackened hardcore” for Vienna auteurs of execution, Seagrave and the debut album Stabwound doesn’t even begin to do justice.  Post-rock always makes me think of something gorgeous, dreamy, hypnotic, etc.  Sure, the guitar work on this album is all of those things and more…the melodies are not of this fuckin’ Earth but they balance the beauty with a ballsy attack element that would scare the pants of Isis, Cult of Luna and other bands that are totally focused on that influence.  Here’s what I got on my order pad…imagine the crusty vocals and distorted violence of Cursed/His Hero is Gone lost in the surrealistic netherworld conjured by Blut Aus Nord while Neurosis plays Through Silver in Blood live and in concert for the soundtrack to the experience.  That ferocious yet well-produced black metal of Secrets of the Moon and the Total-Rust roster are also factored in when the batshit blasting and ruthless, minor chord tremolo picking enters the coliseum hungry for the blood of warriors.  Oh yeah, I should probably mention that Jay Trainwreck is the only band member.  Upon discovering this fact, I was finding it difficult to believe that a whole army of miscreants wasn’t responsible for this godless creation.

The first track “Pillage de Tombe” is a literal feast, a banquet of sounds fit for a Jesus-sized Last Supper event.  This sucker starts off overpowering and overbearing, riding your constitution like white on rice until you collapse into extinction.  The production is exquisite, each instrument so damn heavy, so clear that every note hits with tsunami like force.  Tempo and stylistic changes are frequent and often sharp on the eardrums in the best possible ways.  Trainwreck’s high-register, damage dealing guitar-work nails formidable melodic crests which are always rich in tone and texture.  His arsenal includes minor-chord abuse that incorporates frenetic speed runs, bottom-feeding crusty doom riffs, cataclysmic melodies which are damn catchier than they have any right to be, distortion free passages and a screaming lead that drags the song off into the abyss from whence it was spewed.  Incredibly complex in its own right is the drumming…at first it had me a bit fooled, it’s damn authentic but the 365 bpm on a few of the blast/double-bass beatings gives the programming away (I think anyways…).  Still, it’s not offensive in the least.  Perhaps the dark horse in the project’s framework is the vocals…fuckin’ love ‘em.  Not as sneering as a lot of black metal singers, relying on a dirty, grime smattered mid-range to get the job done.  Even the speech samples and atmospheric nature backdrops feel implemented with purpose.

“Pistanthrophobia” has an acoustic intro with a nice bass-y heft to it, additional melodic layers added slowly before the music snakes into the kind of wailing, dead in the fall, folk harmony guitars of early Fall of the Leafe circa August Wernicke.  The hint of much missed legends is faint, but I swear I can hear it.  Vocally, this a lot sleazier and the faster melo-tremolo shredding is more rough-hewn less uplifting, but not drastically so.  That grumbling doom-riff at 2:22 is a real motherfucker, definitely heavier than a bucket full of shithammers.  It’s the midpoint arrangement that sticks out farther than anything…captivating clean chord accents on the guitar places the mind in the depths of a mystical forest cavern with the bass lines uprooting every tree in the grotto.  This whole arrangement is very suspenseful, foreshadowing the vengeful return of ripping riff-chugs.  Draped in a veil of reverb, lightly dabbed with keyboards (very lightly), lathered in delay, “Harvest in June” has this peacefully dissonant and distant feel even when the rallying riff/lead decimation midway through incites a dangerous fist-pumping, fuck yeah sentiment from yours truly, while never shedding an inch of its melodic skin.  Folk-y melody is no stranger here, though those hoping for Bodom are certainly at the wrong kegger.  The 4:00 minute mark ushers in a calamity of detuned, palm-muted power chords with a dancing, glassy-eyed lead piled on top…the ying/yang effect in full force without jumbling the teetering balance.

Trainwreck jettisons his rabid scream for some damn fine singing during the beginning of “Manifest XII.”  Ceremonial synths occupy a leading role momentarily before that combo of dirty riffage and shrill blackened melody curses the very air you breathe.  A parallel path is tread on “Down with the Wolves” but I’m so damn satisfied with material on display that I have no complaints about Jay dropping a pair of relatively livelier jams until closer “Bonjour Tristesse” pulls out nearly as many death defying stops as “Pillage de Tombe.”  …Almoooost as many, it’s about a pube hair shy, but it’s a son of a bitch nevertheless.

Stabwound is a pretty badass record.  The complexity level is deeper than a lot of similarly minded one man bands are willing to dredge.  Melody is always the prime focus, though that abrasive, slightly crusty deviance gives it a unique, edgy nervousness all its own.  Seagrave had me hooked on the first song, so it was a pleasure to take the entire journey and find that no major quality drops are present.  This one’s got my recommendation for damn sure!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
June 16th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    quite a nice surprise so far, as you said it defies easy categorization. the vocals are the bitter pill here, as I would have preferred something less punk/hardcore but the melody and detail in the songs more than smooth that over. great writeup!


  2. Commented by: Jay

    Thanks brother for the good words about the review! Glad you dig this stuff. This certainly isn’t your average record or one man band. Definitely a different feel here.

    I enjoy the crusty vocals for what they are. It adds an interesting juxtaposition, but if he does a follow-up record it would be cool to hear a few different styles and maybe some melodies added to the mix. This is a helluva foundation to build a house on though!


  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    maybe he can get Dan to do the art for the next one


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