Not that anything so absurd and gimmicky would ever sully the pages (print or web) of our beloved Zero Tolerance, but just to get it out of the way, Sea Bastard are not a pirate band.
They’re the hulking, mad-as-hell illegitimate sons of Poseidon washed ashore in the sludge of the English Channel ready to take revenge on the human race for our complete and utter disregard for…
Alright, I agree. Enough sea metaphors. They’ll doubtlessly be getting them for the rest of their career. Simple fact is that they live in Brighton and the word bastard sounds cool as fuck. Vocalist Monty explains they just decided there needed to be more ‘bastard’ bands in the world after seeing Panzerbastard and Hellbastard at Brighton’s Cowley Club. Who could argue with that kind of logic? And carrying on in the long, proud tradition of bastards in metal, punk, and grind alike, it’s down and dirty, in your face, and wholly unrepentant. Despite a lot of modern doom having a reputation for being the Orange Amplifiers and horse-tranquelising grade Valium sponsored ‘A Beardo’s Guide To Mantric Meditation’, their music on a whole is more sophisticated and intricately wound then it can appear on the surface. Obviously it’s going to take more than a minute to truly appreciate their brand of filth but once the clever elaboration upon a delicately struck balance between the likes of Vitus, Burning Witch and Pentagram is understood, their ‘Great Barrier Riff’ EP will be muscling its way into rotation with all the stamina of a hungry boar chewing through the body of a rabbit.
So how did the conception of Brighton’s very own dirty little secret arise? Did the codomn break? Guitarist Oli explains, “Basically, our previous bands, Jovian and Funeral Hag split up around the same time. Jovian first, then Funeral Hag. We were both doing really heavy stuff we knew that we could work together ‘cos we knew each other’s music quite well. We just wanted to make something heavier and nastier and I think we succeeded.” He emphasises that it’s a matter of catharsis for he and the band, saying that his own drive to take it to the next level is almost necessity. “It gets your aggression out. It gets all those feelings you don’t want to have out.”
With ten, thirteen and fifteen minute songs, one could hypothesize that’s a whole lotta loathe. Oli confesses the extended length of doom structures aren’t what is essentially conducive to dispelling the anger; it’s not a conscious tool of the trade so much as an organic expulsion. “We just kind of write that way. It wasn’t specified as an aim. Just kind of came out. I think repeating riffs is important in explaining things. I try to tell a story through the riffs. It not only helps me remember the parts but helps me explain why the riff is the way it is because you’re using different notes to express it.”
Doesn’t mean it’s the easiest M.O. “We keep trying to write shorter songs because they’re easier to remember,” laughs Monty.
If there’s one thing that seems to come easy for them it’s the fans. Already, they’re filling venues in Brighton and they’ve even ventured up to the Big Smoke for a couple doomsday outings. Drummer George says their commanding presence was birthed with little to no incubation period. “We started playing around Brighton really quickly and it all just flowed. It came together quite naturally. It seemed like it was a huge task starting all over again but it came together and we just got on with it.”
In a city known for artists, hippies and vegetarians, it might be a bit of a surprise to find the diverse yet tight-knit extreme metal scene that exists here. They contend this is a relatively new re-development of sorts, one that Oli helped build by organising Metal Mondays (sadly now only monthly) where he showcases local and out of town metal talent, and where both he and Monty both DJ proper tunes, meaning they don’t peddle the Korn and Skindred other club organisers try to pass off as ‘metal’. Oli says, “We had the Hobgoblin which was like the metal pub, even if it was sort of broad in terms of metal. It shut down due to many reasons. Loads of venues shut down and it was pretty bad for a while then the Green Door Store opened and Metal Mondays definitely brought people together. I’m quite proud of getting the younger and older metallers down talking to each other and that means more people come out to gigs. You’ve got things like Petros’ radio show (Note: your humble auteur is now hosting this show as well – check out Brighton MetalHeads Radio on Radio Free Brighton) and he’s blogging, and there’s the Brighton Metal Listings. They’re both really young and doing a lot. It takes people talking to each other.”
Considering they’ve got less than a year under their collective life-preserver, there remains the distinct possibility that their dreams have yet to be drowned. So, what’s on the agenda? Sea Batard’s thinking big. “I think we got a good buzz going around now. We’re talking about going on tour with Crypsis and we’re totally different bands but I think it would go down really well. We’ve got lots of plans. We’re all getting old and we want to do the best band we possibly can. We want to write an album as soon as possible, we’ve got three tracks for it already and we want to tour the fuck out of it.”
You can catch Sea Bastard staring longingly into the briny deep after rehearsals, running around ancient ruins on holidays or gigging on April 28th with Slabdragger and Umlaut at the Cowley Club in Brighton. Hopefully, the rest of the UK and Europe will be seeing them sooner rather than later on that album they’re going to tour the fuck out of too.
Their first EP, ‘Great Barrier Riff’, is yonder, matey: http://seabastard.bandcamp.com/
(NOTE: This is my first contribution to ZT and as I’m planning on featuring mostly underground bands I thought I’d give my introducing pieces a fun and totally fucking necro column name, hence, Harbingers Of Sorrow.)
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