“Living in a Box“ by Living in a Box. “Bad Company“ by B.C. But also “Black Sabbath“ or “Motörhead“, the list of bands that have a song with the same name as said band is not endless but sometimes it‘s growing. “Seer of the Void“ by Seer of the Void. File under “We like Black Sabbath and Motörhead and create a track that has qualities of both bands!” Proof? Listen to their new record Mantra Monolith!
Seer of the Void from Athens, Greece are relatively new and Mantra Monolith is their second full-length following the scene-success of Revenant from 2020; nevertheless the guys do not sound new, but rather dry-aged-well. They have listened to all the right bands from back in the day like Motörhead, Sabbath, Hawkwind, Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore but also more recent ones like Cathedral, Draken, Electric Wizard, Monster Magnet or The Sword. That is clearly shown through tracks like ”Hex”, “Electric Father” or aforementioned ”Seer of the Void” - their sound is unbelievable thick and dense, not never compressed to death but a little airy. It sounds a little bit like the Hippie communities of the late 70s or mid-90s where the folks didn’t only smoke the herb but also cultivated it themselves and thus respected it a bit more. There’s nothing better for your body and soul but self-cultivated produce, right?
Something that is strikingly good about is their knack for a perfect beat – listen to ”Necromancer” and the mix of tribal-like licks and near-marching drums will not leave your ear channels for a while. But as you probably already hit replay you will automatically be re-directed to the opener ”Astride” where the drums only become apparent when the chorus comes in and Ilias “The Animal” Samartzis hits the cymbals as if it was his only means of survival. Or the opening of ”Death is my Name” which exemplifies his maniac nature to the t – he keeps a rolling rhythm for 30 seconds before using anything but the bass drum and then kick-starting the whole track.
However, do not sleep on the guitar lines provided by Greg “Maddog” Konstantaras (bet he took that nickname from Back to the Future III ;-) ) because his performance is both straight and spicy heavy when necessary but also provides a lot of little details that paint perfect pictures in our head – the little tremolo solo shortly before the end of ”Electric Father” are a good example of that. The trio paints big images of even bigger deserts and just like any good painter they also use the smaller brushes every once in a while to throw in a bit of detail and depth in order not to become to predictable.
Coming back to the opening paragraph: What I like a lot about Seer of the Void’s ability to deliver both – really good mid-tempo tracks and uptempo numbers as well. And ”Seer of the Void” somehow epitomizes both sides because of the Motörhead-beat and the Sabbath-imagery they show in the bridge (accompanied by the little upwards spiraling noises in the background) before kicking back into Lemmy-mode. Even though the solo is not a Iommi-original it is still well done and serves the whole track!
My favorite track on the record is the final ”Necromancer” because of the cool reference in the title to William Gibson’s book and because of the mighty interesting mix of Ufomammut and a bit of Electric Wizard. The track shines golden rays of hope and escape into the vast desert that the other seven songs have gotten themselves into.
Mantra Monolith is a perfect record for all those who now turn to Desertfest because they do not like the direction Roadburn is heading. Now we do not want to get into any discussion about the latter (you all will get my opinion on that in a few weeks!) but for those who like their smoke-infused Doom a bit faster than usual and shifty as hell: Listen to “Seer of the Void”. And to Seer of the Void in general!