The term “brutal” gets tossed around when describing particularly effective metal, and Sea of Bones earns it for the 39-minute title track on its 2013 album. “The Earth Wants Us Dead” is what metal would sound like if it were made by Ents (the badass trees of Lord of the Rings fame). A long, quiet build begets a wall of low-frequency feedback fortified by warlike drums. As it fades out and higher pitches poke through the bleakness, not a single word is said or sung, but you’re left feeling that a hard-won battle took place.
The rest of The Earth Wants Us Dead actually gets into more traditional sludge—if such a term can be used. The three-piece from New Haven, Conn., takes its time chopping through the heaviness on tracks like “Black Arm.” The vocals—growls and snarls, really—are tuned as low as the bass and guitar, adding mortar to the wall of doom. “Failure of Light ” is the heavy pinnacle of the album, multiple voices competing with feedback and crashing drums. The boys of Sea of Bones sound like they’ve been rehearsing in hell’s basement for nearly 10 years, and all that practice has paid off.
Sea of Bones plays the VFW Tue., July 22, at 9 PM, along with Slouch, Shramana, Swamp Ritual and Future Users: Beta. $5/$7 for ages 18-20.