Review: Virgins of the Seven Seas “The Sacrificed Tape”

Review: Virgins of the Seven Seas “The Sacrificed Tape”

- in Reviews
Score 80%
80 %
User Rating : 4.7 (1 votes)

As you may know if you’ve been following the history of the metal genre, doom metal is one of the oldest styles of metal. It’s pretty much the oldest style aside from traditional heavy metal, some considering Black Sabbath not only to be the pioneers of heavy metal, but doom metal as well, with its first few albums being played in a very heavy tone for its time, an almost bluesy influence, slow to mid-paced riffs and a persistent feeling of “doom” and trepidation throughout. The style has been kept alive for nearly 50 years by now, with new styles branching out from the original formula, retaining all of the hallmarks, such as the slow, mid-paced riffs, doomy atmosphere, heavy guitar tones, and so on, stoner doom and stoner metal being one of the variations spawned from the genre, arising in the 90s with bands like cathedral and sleep, which added more of a psychedelic and acid rock influence, and is known for having an extra fuzzy and distorted guitar tone. Despite the origins of the style coming up around 2 decades after doom metal was pioneered, stoner doom still has a very old school sound, many of the bands still sounding as if they recorded their material in the 70’s, and this still continues up until this day, which brings us to the band we’re talking about today, virgins of the seven seas, with their newest album, the sacrificed tape. Originally from Hamburg, Germany, this band has released one other album and an EP so far, and they are certainly a good example of bands that are perpetuating this style. How well executed is it? Well stick with me and we’ll see.

The opener of the album, “Mutter Doom”, starts out with a very heavy atmosphere (and I don’t really mean just musically). The guitars start off with a clean tone, which capture a very eerie, desolate and somewhat frightening atmosphere, with vocals that are delivered in a very pained, angry and anguished tone, first being delivered in spoken word, and progressively becoming more and more emotionally intense. Then the slow, heavy, distorted riffs come in, which just adds to the oppressive atmosphere of the song. This intense build up progresses throughout the song, transitioning between the clean and distorted tone throughout, until it gives you this heavy, cathartic release at the end, with the bluesy solo at the end of the song, along with the howling of the vocalist. This isn’t the sound that the band goes with for the rest of the album, it definitely establishes a tone and it’s one hell of an opener in my opinion. The second track, “BeDroCan” is where it picks up a bit, with more of a fuzzy mid-paced opening, and with vocals that definitely seem to have a bit of an Ozzy influence, while still sounding fairly distinct, and you pretty much either get the cleaner Ozzy influenced vocals, or more of an intense, grittier delivery throughout the album. The bass has a nice and rumbly tone behind the layers of riffs,the drums carry a pretty noddable beat, plus the riffs are pretty catchy. The lyrics and sound are pretty standard fare for stoner doom, especially in the second track, and of course, you do get the very psychedelic flare throughout, musically and lyrically for the most part- which again, is probably something you’d come to expect with stoner doom. The lyrics in “Electric Feather” especially have a decidedly trippy quality, which is probably one of my favorite songs on the album I’m pretty sure, because I love the theme of the melody playing throughout the song, which harmonizes pretty seamlessly with the heavier rhythm guitar in the foreground, and the solos in it are especially catchy. I can pretty much picture myself riding down the highway in a biker gang in the 70’s when I’m listening to that song especially- and considering this album was released this year, and I wasn’t even alive in the 70’s, to me that’s pretty special!

“Mountain” is probably another close contender for me too, because the overall rhythm of the song is just so catchy to me, some trippy sounding bass lines shining through every now and then, a gnarly solo around the midpoint of the song, and it’s also probably where I first noticed a little bit of a punk influence in some of the riffs. I didn’t hear too much of a punk influence in this album, but from the bits and pieces I’ve heard from their first album there seems to be a more obvious punk influence- and it kind of makes sense that I’d catch onto a punky influence in this particular song, since it was featured on both albums. This brings me to the beginning of the last track, “Milk the Goat”, pretty much gives all of the instruments their time to shine, where you can just hear the guitars, drums and bass just doing their own thing without being totally out of sync with each other either. And the song just continues on with some pretty catchy riffs throughout, with some extra fuzzy distortion and psychedelic sounding riffs and bass tones from the mid-point on. It really kind of impressed me that each song on the album was pretty similar in style- but each song sounds distinct and memorable. There really isn’t a bad track on the album overall. It has a raw edge to the production that gives it a crisp sound, but it’s not totally dominated by fuzz either.

The sacrificed tape does nothing that reinvents the wheel, but it is executed very well- and honestly I do kind of wish I heard a little bit more of a punk influence on this album too but that’s just a minor nitpick, I just think it breaks it out of the mold enough to make it a little bit more interesting- but even then, I don’t think it’s a boring album by any means either, they manage to keep it pretty interesting throughout the album as it is. The whole album only clocks in at just under 40 minutes with just 5 songs, so that, and how each track seems to be so easily distinguishable is why I felt like it was necessary to just cover it track by track. It’s an overall solid release, and I don’t really think I have anything major to complain about. So for those reasons I’d have to give the album an 8/10.

If you like stoner doom, you’d probably be in for a treat, but if you already don’t really care for the genre all that much it wouldn’t change your mind by any means. Feel free to check them out for yourself and come to your own conclusions about it, and you can find physical copies of both albums on their bandcamp page if you’d like to pick them up. Until we meet again, I wish you a nice and affable day, and I bid you a friendly cheers!

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