Sea - 'The Grip Of Time'

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Sea - 'The Grip Of Time'

On this record, you sense them patenting their raw sound and it will pick them up fans for sure.

This Danish four-piece return with their second album, and it shows a marked development in their sound since their 2014 debut. To label them as Retro does them a bit of a disservice; while they have a sound that is based in heavy riffs with a warm fuzzy tone, the twin guitars of Anders Brink and Anders Kargaard boom out of the speakers with a firm meaty production that doesn't suffer from the compressed sound a lot of modern records do.

Jonas Banstrup's drums are beefy and pleasingly old-school where he knows how to hold back as well as pound the kit, an antidote to those new-schoolers over-reliant on their double bass drums. Brink also sings and it's in this area their sound has improved in particular. His voice is stronger, as if he's grown in confidence since the debut and now it's a strong instrument in its own right, a match for the twin guitar assault.

The record crackles with electricity. It opens with 'Rust', starting like the sea itself, it laps gently on acoustic guitar before it crashes noisily with a big electric riff. 'Once We Were Dead' has a staccato riff that almost evokes Queens Of The Stone Age playing Led Zeppelin followed by some twin Thin Lizzy-like soloing. That Zeppelin reference carries into 'Shout' which has a more obvious sing-along chorus; this is the first concession of the band in terms of being commercial as outside of this kind of hook you feel their going for the old ethic of being an album-orientated record. It's all about evoking an atmosphere over its ten tracks rather than looking for a couple of radio hits. A lot of this releases strength lies in its groove-based approach. Most songs crack along at a sweat-inducing pace, but tracks like 'Time Will Let You Know' and 'Sea' offer a slower approach which gives these tracks a more inwardly reflective quality.

Not a concept album per se but there's an existential slant to a lot of the lyrics which permeates most of the songs. You feel the band are still coming of age. On this record, you sense them patenting their raw sound and it will pick them up fans for sure, but I still think they're looking for the killer tune to define them and push them over the top, and into a much wider audience.

Duncan Jamieson

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