Connecticut’s Sea of Bones have been pretty quiet for a while now, with six years passing since their debut record The Harvest but perhaps the doom band allows new music to blossom at the same pace as their ponderous riffs.
Where the band is clearly comfortable with extensive and sprawling passages of atmospheric doom tinged with sludge, they have pushed that affinity into extreme territories with this new LP entitled The Earth Wants Us Dead, a heaving behemoth, clocking in at over 90 minutes of sorrowful dirges.
As a result of this, The Earth Wants Us Dead is an exhaustive and challenging listen, perhaps even a chore for some tastes. It certainly demands a lot from the listener, like full undivided attention and a high threshold for all things heavy and unforgiving.
It’s somewhat miraculous, too, that Sea of Bones are merely a three-piece, as the sheer weight and volume of their sound suggests that of an army. It’s quite the testament to their might, and thankfully there are riffs aplenty and impressive song-craft too, rather than just a swathe of droning sludge for an hour and a half.
‘The Stone, The Slave, The Architect’ comes in as a hail of droning doom with a sloshing lead riff and two vocal styles crashing together, while ‘Black Arms’ shows the band unravelling themselves, revealing new shades to the palette with a vigorous pace and very busy drums.
Meanwhile, ‘The Bridge’ exhibits another gorgeous dynamic to Sea of Bones’ sound, where a hypnotic guitar intro and tribal-like drums begin blossoming into Neurosis-tinged riffs where the realization sets in that this is certainly one of 2013’s most intriguing doom records.
The title track marks the end of the album, a sullen instrumental that clocks in at nearly 40 minutes. Its whirring ambience and gentle drums are a sound to behold as it swells and swells though never quite hits a crescendo that it was teasing, and while a beautiful bookend to the record nevertheless, it still begs the question of whether such a lengthy jaunt was necessary. Regardless, The Earth Wants Us Dead is Sea of Bones satisfactorily conquering the second album blues and delivering a solid and impressive record that ensures us that the first one was no fluke.