Tool fans, this is one of the reasons why you probably won’t hear a new album in 2018. Legend of the Seagullmen is a supergroup project whose lineup of sea men includes Danny Carey of Tool and Brett Hinds of Mastodon. This album sounds exactly like what you would expect a band called Legend of the Seagullmen to sound like. This is rollicking modern hard rock with nautical lore as its conceptual shtick. Cheesy? Sure, but it works, and it is a lot of fun.
The Legend Begins
The album introduces itself with “We Are the Seagullmen,” abjuring us to ‘give it up for the glory of the seagull god king’ as they ‘fight for the legend that makes us [REDACTED] proud!’ It has a deliberate buildup, a catchy shuffling beat, and all the trappings of a song meant to open a live set. Dominated by Hinds’s signature guitar tone, Carey and Pete Griffin’s (of Deathklok fame) solid rhythm section, guttural vocals, and just the right amount of synth to provide atmosphere, “We Are the Seagullmen” gets Legend of the Seagullmen off to a good start.
“The Fogger” has some progressive stylings and a suitable 6 minute length but it passes with less notice than the album’s opener due to rhythmic predictability and ordinary riffs. Things pick up with “Shipswreck,” using the synth to lead the song’s motif over an absolute crusher of a main riff that would have sounded not at all out of place on a Mastodon album. Dreyer repeats his ‘glory to the seagull god king’ mantra once more as the song dies out under the sound of squacking — you guessed it — seagulls.
“Curse of the Red Tide” would be Legend of the Seagullmen’s ballad. It starts out sounding not a little bit like “Unforgiven” by Metallica, but things pick up when keyboardist Chris DiGiovanni invokes the ‘orchestral strings’ patch. By the halfway point things get considerably harder, with Danny Carey displaying the drumming prowess for which he is most famous.
The album’s title track (and by extension, the band’s theme song) starts as a heavy rocker like the opening track and “Shipswreck.” Legend of the Seagullmen use adroit dynamics with a slower, gentler mid-part. And yes, the ‘seagull god king’ gets mentioned once more. “The Orca” might be the most ‘metal’ song on Legend of the Seagullmen. It maintains a solid, start-stop groove and Hinds includes some psychedelic licks that would be noticed by Tool fans, not to mention fans of his own band.
“Rise of the Giant” has the feel of an extended jam session, albeit one by excellent musicians. This is surprising considering that the band’s publicity material says the songs were written in a fairly top-down way. “The Ballad of the Deep Sea Diver” ends the album with a song that is not a ballad in spite of its title. Some wild shredding dominates its length. The orchestral strings re-appear near the end to play a pleasant coda.
Most albums that were fun to record are not fun to listen to, and the reverse is often the case as well. The carefree attitude found in just jamming out some tunes tends to obviate the deductive discipline needed to make a masterpiece. Legend of the Seagullmen lacks this problem. One can tell right away that Carey, Hinds, and friends had a blast making this album – yet it merits multiple listens all the same.
If Legend of the Seagullmen has any flaws, it would be in the vocals. David Dreyer is the least ‘super’ friend in this supergroup. His vocal melodies lack any compelling or pleasant qualities. They were wise in burying them in the mix. One can also see guitarist (and film director) Jimmy Hayward’s efforts to make this as cinematic an album as possible, with all the sound effects and the synthetic ‘seagull god’ mythos. That would be a minor point against the album, however. The riffs and the writing save the day from the spatter of too much seagull guano.
Notable Tracks: “Shipswreck”; “We Are the Seagullmen”; “Orca”
FFO: Tool, Mastodon, Deathklok