Ever become so suffocated by the colossal dark the remnants of all hope, of all life, can do nothing but scream its way out with gut-wrenching ferocity until sound ceases to surge from the pit of your lungs? Piercing through this darkness and perforating the eardrums of all those around, this anguish releases itself from all shackles and unleashes an almighty rush of endorphins flooding your body to eases the transition from existing to living. This same rush is mirrored in listening to the rousing yet crushing debut from Boston’s Sea; Impermanence is the grandiose, real-life equivalent of this all-powerful response of the soul against the dark’s unbearable might.
This is not to say the five tracks which make up this intoxicating record are not shrouded by this darkness – heck it finds great comfort in brooding within this envelopment. What it does mean is that, underneath this perpetual black fog, its power comes from a place many of us know all too well; for bursting through this dense sludgy atmosphere come the mournful cries and screams of both Stephen LoVerne and Liz Walshak (both of whom also responsible for the atmosphere’s omnipresence) with enough might to splinter the most overwhelming and opaque shadows. Their combined force knocks you clean off your feet and crashing into whatever lies behind you; tethered to each syllable pushed from out their lungs is every heavy emotion imaginable and they make you feel every one of them.
It’s not just about the goosebump-inducing vocals mind; for music at this calibre it is all about the atmosphere and Impermanence is nothing but that, each creation just as harrowing and as melancholic as the last. ‘Penumbra’, the record’s lead single, is what kicks this experience in motion. Walshak takes the lead here, her screams make light work of the pitch-black around her, one which oozes [..]. The doomy sledgehammer of ‘Shrine’ and ‘Ashes’ follows, gliding over a Solaris-esque ocean teeming with memories refusing to become abandoned, the latter of which traverses seamlessly across bombastic and uplifting territories whilst remaining a haunting ode to the mortal impermanence of life. Closing the album on a high after the transcendental lull in the storm ‘Ascend’, ‘Dust’ trudges through the magmatic maelstrom with the will and determination of a survivor on the brink. Epic in every sense of the word, this odyssey bludgeons until there is nothing left to do but scream.
One is almost at a loss for words every time the album plays through the ears. Evoking a range of emotions whilst never sacrificing on its delivery, Impermanence is an album best played with eyes firmly closed in a place of deep solitude. It courses through the vessel with urgency, dwelling on the here and now, and forces you to confront the darkness head on. But in doing so it never lets you go, taking you by the hand and faces everything by your side. It is a fully immersive experience which will stay with you long after its energy has been spent. Somebody needs to sign this group so their full force can be felt the world over.