Review Summary: Tomb of Obsolescence
During the first few bars of Sea of Ignorance’s
eponymous opener, you can’t help but be reminded of the classic sequence that began “These Walls Shall Be Your Grave” on Brutality’s legendary debut album. The parallels are rather striking. Like clockwork, oscillating tremolo riffs give way to a quotable one-liner, but instead of the somewhat campy but still completely awesome “Tomb! Of Desecration!” we’re greeted with the more parody-esque “Fools! Wearing blinders”. Abandoning the charmingly macabre in favour of first-world disillusionment, this album hinges on a concept that is lost in translation and is altogether less effectual. Of course, a hang up like this is forgivable in a genre like death metal, but what is most ironic is that much like the bookcases and CRT TVs lumped into a pile on the cover, Sea of Ignorance
is a disposable product, primed for consumption without consequence.
To no one’s surprise, the loss of founding guitarist Don Gates yields a comparatively tame set of riffs, compounded by drummer Jim Coker jumping ship and taking his percussive chemistry with him. Without the interplay of his long-time kin, Jay Fernandez is all but pining for creative stimuli, with his main saving grace being his melodically inclined solos that bring tracks like “End of Days” to alleviating conclusions. Even “Barbarically Beheaded”, one of the strongest cuts on the album, fails to live up to expectations set barely three years ago by the Ruins of Humans
EP. “48-52” is a superficial attempt at mixing things up, predictably alternating between a trio of rhythmically contrasting licks, bookended by two meandering soft sections. This kind of cyclicity becomes particularly sleep-inducing between the adjacent pair of “Tribute” and “Perpetual Resolution”, with the former having a core riff that belongs more on a contemporary melodeath album as opposed to something donning the Brutality moniker.
Thankfully, the band throws us a curve-ball on the penultimate track, covering Bathory’s “Shores in Flames” and doing a reasonably good job at it. Usually, a solitary track bearing no relevance to the rest of the album and taking up nearly a third of its duration would have me reacting with scorn, but it serves as a breath of fresh air from the monotony. However, this inadvertently highlights this album’s biggest flaw: it’s lost as to what it wants to be. Sea of Ignorance
neither pays adequate tribute to its ancestors nor does it progress the band’s sound in any respectable way, it just exists. Combine this with asinine socio-political commentary – exhibited most laughably in “Fatal Cure”, a song that slates medical advances for supposedly paving our way in raping the Earth’s resources – and what we have here is the epicentre of mediocrity.