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Sea Mosquito - Fire, Magic, and Venom

Sea Mosquito
Fire, Magic, and Venom
by Ian Yeara at 27 September 2021, 5:50 PM

I love when an album’s cover art perfectly represents the music being played. SEA MOSQUITO is a two-man Atmospheric Black Metal band, sticking closer to the Post Black Metal label, with an emphasis on atonality or bi tonality in the guitar chords echoing underneath the rest of the music. Oh, and they’re from London before I forget to mention it; which is rather unusual, I can’t remember the last black metal band I heard from England at all. The production is appropriately thin, distant and cold, as cold as the void itself. From the lyrics this seems to be about a man being drawn into a vortex through his nightmares and perhaps literally or figuratively fighting demons and phantasms with Fire, Magic and Venom. Back to the artwork, I love how minimalist it is, just one solid drawing or painting of a dark vortex, almost looking like the back of a Yu-Gi-Oh card. You can almost imagine staring into that abyss and being drawn in without realizing while distracted by it’s terrible beauty.

I also love that this is a one song, 22-minute ep, making for easy relistening. It also makes it easier to break down and analyze though I must admit, there’s not a ton of variety throughout this song. I respect the first three minutes of buildup, taking the main riff and building it up until it fills your ears and shakes your house/car/apartment. The next 6 minutes are a miasma of dark riffs, spacey bass work and traditional black metal style guitars, tempered by some psychedelia. Then when we get to the eight-minute mark it starts building up again but this time with some more technical guitar work and by the time we hit the 10 minute mark the guitars are almost wailing as the music picks up in intensity. Then everything comes back down and starts setting up for another climax. One thing I almost missed the first time through this was the background vocals, or at least I think they’re vocals. At times underneath the twisted soundscape you can hear a chanting voice, it almost sounds like throat singing actually, and with the amount of reverb and echo applied it sounds appropriately disturbing. That puts us about 15 or so minutes into the song and as much as I've been enjoying it, something is missing. Fortunately, the last 7 minutes of the song answer my question of what's missing for me. First, we get a magnificent breakdown where it almost seems like all the sound, all the riffs and throat singing, everything collapses in on itself in a whirlwind of black metal and noise. Then we get what is probably my favorite part of the whole song. Around 18 minutes we get the fattest riff in the whole thing that just sounds so immense and dense, it reminds me more of a death metal riff than a black metal one. However, all of that fades away into the about 3 minutes of outro, where we get the first and only real melodic content of the song. Still more throat singing underneath, but now the keys add in a sense of longing and loss, and the bass keeps it weird and off kilter underneath. Chanting female vocals accompany this soft melodic section, with the guitars showing what emotion they can elicit from their strings and last, but definitely not least a saxophone solo! Now I'm a saxophone player so sax solos are always going to intrigue me, especially in black metal. Kevin Scott is the guest on sax and he's got a great tone. I love it I really do, this melodic section was the perfect way to end this ep.

I saw a few comments on this album ad I was looking around and I saw some people saying that they didn't like the melodic ending. I can understand that, I don't know if the transition around the 18–19-minute mark is as smooth as it could be, also the song doesn't really allude to such a section at all so I get that maybe some people were taken completely by surprise. I was taken by surprise, but in a good way. Let me put it like this, before the ending I was ready to chalk this up as another decent black metal album, but without anything unique to offer. Even with some of the unusual elements present throughout the song, I have heard other black metal bands pull off similar things to greater effect. However, the last 7-8 minutes of the song totally changed my mind. I'm not going to pretend this is a perfect album, but SEA MOSQUITO really showed off their chops here. They showed that they know what they are doing and are competent songwriters, whatever I might think of some of their choices. I find it interesting that this band only releases EPs, but I actually really like that idea. Release shorter albums more frequently? It's like when episodic gaming became a thing in the mid-2000s, except that failed and we never got Half Life 3. Oh well, hopefully these guys maintain their pace and proliferation because we can always use more competent musicians willing to push boundaries, no matter what the genre.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fire, Magic and Venom
Lineup:
Fas - Spirit
Nuun - Voice
Guest Saxophone - Kevon Scott
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 16 October 2021
 

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