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Seamount : V: Nitro Jesus

This fifth album is a worthy addition to Seamount’s already impressive output.

'Nitro Jesus' sees Seamount return with their fifth album, their first since 2012’s well-received spiritual concept album 'Earthmother', and attempting to keep ablaze the “New Torch of Doom Rock Music” that they lit with their 2008 debut. Released on both CD and double vinyl, 'Nitro Jesus' has a hook-laden traditional Doom style sure to please existing fans.

Lyrically, it’s an album that wears its heart on its sleeve; many themes and emotions are examined, from the positive and uplifting to the depths of hopelessness and despair. As with its predecessor, spirituality is key here, and as the album’s title suggests, this does include a number of references to Christian beliefs.

Opening track, 'Bestial Rising' gets proceedings off to an upbeat, positive start; a satisfyingly heavy traditional Doom riff underpins a defiant ode to escaping the shackles of the past and finding a new freedom. American vocalist Phil Swanson delivers a textbook Doom performance here with just the right amount of aggression seasoned with a hint of melancholy. From here on in, we’re taken on a rollercoaster ride through Seamount’s collective psyche that can be challenging, but is never dull.

There’s an old maxim that it’s seldom wise to discuss religion with your friends, but bringing religious themes to a Metal album, or indeed any Rock album, can be equally perilous. Belligerent bellowing about the perceived repressive evils of organised religion à la Slayer is one thing, but statements about a "Supersonic Saviour" as on title track, 'Nitro Jesus', could come across as preachy, but the song writing here is skilful enough for the message to remain ambiguous.

Anyone looking to 'Nitro Jesus' for brutal heaviness, or harsh, growled vocals will be disappointed, but that’s not to say that this is a lightweight record. There are moments of traditional Doom aplenty, such as the pounding 'Scars of the Emotional Stuntman', a lament to life as a perennial outsider that builds gradually to a thunderous Sabbathesque riff. And amongst the traditional Doom and Stoner elements, other styles and genres are explored, most interestingly on 'Hold up the Sun', a jangly, dare I say poppy, acoustic number with strong hints of Goth/Dark Wave and a chorus of “Hold up the sun, hold up the moon/they don’t shine so much next to you” that even the most curmudgeonly of us Doomsters would struggle to resist singing along to.

That said, there is anger and aggression here, too. 'In the End' is a spiteful slab of pure vitriol with a sneering, venomous vocal performance reminiscent of Pistols-era Lydon as singer Phil Swanson delivers a defiant rant of “I don’t care what you’re used to/I’m not here to shake my dick for you”, perhaps aware of the divisive nature of some of the religious references on 'Nitro Jesus', and the reaction some metal fans may have.

Overall, 'Nitro Jesus' is a thought-provoking demonstration of traditional Doom with some other interesting touches. The whole band are on fine form with a particularly powerful performance from guitarist Tim Schmidt, whose riffs are heavy while still being toe-tappingly catchy, and some fine shredding work, too. Perhaps the album could be less restrained at times: one does get the feeling that Seamount are holding back a little here, but nevertheless this is a worthy addition to Seamount’s already impressive output.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Bestial Rising
2. Can’t Escape the Pain
3. Nitro Jesus
4. Scars of the Emotional Stuntman
5. Hold up the Sun
6. Bulletproof
7. Beautiful Sadness
8. In The End
9. No One Knows

Duration : Approx. 51 minutes

Visit the Seamount bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-02-18 by Nick Harkins
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