Hello and welcome back to the Bandcamp Buried Treasure article series, where I'll be hunting down Buy It Now/Free Download-payment option albums on Bandcamp by the best bands you've never heard! The goal is to introduce you smaller bands or obscure side-projects you might not have heard of. Anything to expand your musical horizons by just a little bit each week, all while keeping your cost (potentially) down! This week we'll be listening to the difficult-to-define Bristol, UK act Fever Sea!
Fever Sea seem to be as confused as I am on what to label their music, tagging the album with genres like "post-metal," "black metal," and "Progressive metal." Certainly there are elements of all these genres crammed into the 21-minute crusher The Deluge, but it would be much easier to define Fever Sea's music simply as "epic metal." Not so much in the power metal sense, but more in that the music moves with purposeful movement between segments, creating a massive sonic landscape to get lost in. The fact that the music was produced to sound slightly roomy and ambient only adds to lumbering power this album contains.
"Genesis in Retort" leaves zero time to wonder if you've made the right choice in hitting the play button on this EP, because it basically pours through the speakers with an immense force that renders you unable to hit the pause button. The song churns like an angry sea through pummeling waves of double bass and tsunamis of distortion before taking a more intricate form at the end. If "Genesis in Retort" was the storm that sunk your ship, then "The King Immersed" is the process of staring up at the wavering sun from under the water as you're dragged down to drown. The song builds up from clean vocals and guitars to a driving chorus-type section before blowing up into an almost reprise of "Genesis in Retort." Don't expect a second maelstrom though; there's only a building emptiness afterward that screams a stunning bleakness amidst impressive drum work by the band's J. Kelly. The EP closes out with "Antideluvian," which is a great combination of the sounds you've been hearing along with some groovier spots. The best thing about this song is that it doesn't simply fade out or end on a light note. No. There's a riff that comes from a scratching, distant guitar that's picked up by the rest of the band and grooves right on out of your speakers in the most black metal, Dodecahedron-meets-Ihsahn kind of way possible.
So in a way, everything Fever Sea seem to think they are genre-wise is correct. The Deluge is a short listen, but it'll leave an impression on you that won't soon be forgotten because of one thing above all; it's unique. Sections of songs might sound like other artists, but there's never a point where I could definitively point out a rip-off or influence worn on their sleeve. Fever Sea do metal right, to put it bluntly, and it's exciting to know that they're still going strong with a new release in the works. While the music certainly speaks for itself, I'd like to throw in a quick note about the mix; Petey Graves nailed the sound of an angry ocean voiced by a metal band in this mix better than I think I've ever heard (in terms of mixes nailing a certain image or evocation of images, that is). Just… wow. The music absolutely speaks for itself, but the mix puts it right over the top.
So what are you waiting for? Get lost in the sea!