Whales Don’t Fly   
The Golden Sea

Whales Don’t Fly, eh? Who is going to tell Gojira? Considering I mentioned on my year end list that their latest album was not a masterpiece but was indeed just okay, maybe it should be me. After all, I’m pretty good at breaking bad news.

What I’m not good at is finding promos to review. Luckily, Teeth main man Erik, saw Whales Don’t Fly, and mentioned I might like it. Well, he was correct. By the time you read this, the album will have already been out for a couple of weeks and I might even have the CD I ordered in hand from overseas. I bought it, so I like it.

After a short, spoken word intro, the first official track, which is also the first single, “Man and the Pilgrim,” comes in with a riff and verse much like Sylosis. The vocals remind me of them, too. Despite the promo materials likening them to Trivium, I feel this comparison is more apt. The delivery on the cleans could draw comparisons to either band. This is a great opening track.

Later, “Mountain Peak,” has a riff once again very reminiscent of Sylosis again, yet has a synth section near the end of the track. They have an almost intentionally spooky vibe, not unlike something you may hear on the next Ghost record.

The next track, “Dream Walker,” is where the Trivium influence is most prevalent to my ears. It’s a downtempo, softer track, with screams like Matt Heafy. However, in the background we have what sounds like a Moog synth for the better part of it. The cleans have more relaxed, less forced quality to them here, also sounding quite a bit like Mr. Heafy. While this song is on the longer side, it’s definitely nothing compared to the next one I’ll mention.

That one is the 11-plus minute titled track, “The Golden Sea.” While the track is formidable, it’s obviously lengthy with an extended intro and Sylosis riff again. I’ll quit mentioning them when the comparison is no longer apt. Background synths are littered throughout this track as well, giving it an unexpected backbone, and distinguishing them between the other bands mentioned. There’s an extended solo/jam session before halfway with that Moog again, which segues into the chorus. One could argue the quiet section, which lasts for a couple of minutes, derails the momentum, especially considering it goes on to end the track, and in a way, the entire album, as the last track is ambience.

Is this good? Yep! Are there flaws? Also yep. Mainly, the band would do better to edit themselves. Not unlike mid-period Trivium, there are clear intentions to spread out and explore their sound, which is a positive, especially for a new band. However, this sometimes results in songs that are too long, such as the title track. Despite these missteps, the pacing of the album is solid. If they were to cut off 10 minutes overall, including the final track altogether, that would probably elevate this from a great debut to a genre masterpiece. I’ll be interested to see where they take it from here, but Whales Don’t Fly appear to have an outstanding trajectory.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
March 1st, 2022

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