Review Summary: What do you call a man with a seagull on his head...
Reading that joke and rolling your eyes was a more worthwhile investment of time than listening to the debut album by Legend of The Seagullmen. You’re welcome. Not only because most people would generally prefer to hear an album released by each participating member’s band than a collaborative album of said members released under the guise of a supergroup, but because the existence of “Legend of the Seagullmen”
is about as pointless as the existence of seagulls themselves.
Naturally, there are exceptions concerning the point of supergroups; Down and Bloodbath are two groups that have gained such an impressive title that they are celebrated nearly as much as the bands that first sprouted them. Yet, even with Legend of the Seagullmen’s combination of high-profile names in heavy metal- Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Danny Carey (Tool), Pete Griffin (Dethklok) and Jimmy Hayward (‘Horton Hears a Who’ director), this supergroup fails to ignite a spark of aptitude that their correlative bands display. Luckily, everything that makes this album sound so annoying can be blamed on the band’s enigmatic, emblematic frontman known conveniently as ‘The Doctor’, who is seemingly responsible steering the lore and weirdness of the songs across this album.
Other than creating the song’s concepts, The Doctor accomplishes little. His voice is relatively unvarying except for the closer, “Ballad of the Deep Sea Diver”, where he twists into a Nick Cave-esque murder ballad while the lyrics focus heavily on repetition during choruses and verses alike on the remaining songs over the course of the band’s debut. Similarly, Danny Carey’s proficiency behind the drumkit is barely recognisable, revealed only in the faster moments of the title track and “The Fogger”, which features curious, tentative patterns. Supported by Hayward, Brent Hinds’ presence, however, is covered over this album, almost to the point of excess, if such a word can be applied to such a man. Crazy, colourful, corkscrewing guitar solos erupt in tracks such as “Shipwrecked”, “Curse of the Red Tide” and “Rise of the Giant Squid”, breathing life into these otherwise middling arty punk rock songs. When he’s not careering off the edge of the map, Brent provides simplistic, strong, stomping riffs in tracks such as during “The Orca”.
Furthermore, with a film-maker and a bunch of members renowned for their sonically illustrative music, “Legend of the Seagullmen”
does have a cinematic atmosphere to it which is admittedly enhanced by the album’s conceptual plot- but in the same sort of way that Sharknado still has a concept behind it. Numerous samples of the cawing seaside demons can be heard as well as the creaking wood of ships sailing across treacherous seas, whale song, the tolling of a ship’s bell and even the sound of oxygen pumped through a diving suit. All this emphasises The Seagullmen’s oceanic soundscape and progresses The Doctor’s story-telling, however, in the grand scheme of things these small additions amount to little significance. Immersive, this record is not.
Overall, this album finds itself in a balancing act between novelty and light-hearted professionalism. Some will find “Legend of the Seagullmen”
an enjoyable experience crafted by a few of their favourite musicians; others will argue that the scales have been tipped towards the novelty side and find its ridiculousness is what makes the albums sound so unenticing. Whichever side you take, you’ll still be left waiting for the next Tool album.