The world is awash with Heavy Metal supergroups. But the pool of mega-star filled bands that actually delivered anything of real quality, however, is shallow indeed. Luckily, Legend of the Seagullmen might just be one of the weirdest super groups to deliver an album drowning in quality.
The Seagullmen features Danny Carey of Tool on drums, Brent Hinds of Mastodon and Jonah Hex director Jimmy Hayward on guitar, David ‘The Doctor’ Dreyer on vocals, and Pete Griffin of Zappa Plays Zappa and Dethklok on bass.
And while there’s no shortage of side projects between the members of Tool and Mastodon, even amongst Hinds’ outré output – Fiend Without a Face and West End Motel couldn’t be further from the blood and thunder of Mastodon – the Seagullmen are an odd prospect; a genre-bending collective of metalheads and film director creating a self-titled album the band have called a ‘nautical spaghetti western’.
Legend… (Dine Alone) is a difficult album to pin down. A mish-mash of Nick Cave meets Metallica covering Ennio Morricone, with flavours of Tool and Mastodon and a little bit of whatever else comes to mind in the moment. It’s barmy, but it’s also a really good album. It’s a little bit metal, it’s quite rock, there’s hints of prog and spacey trip-outs. But whatever it is, it’s fun.
Opening track ‘We Are the Seagullmen’ sounds like a Nick Cave drinking song played over a classic Tool beat with one of Hinds’ usual screaming solos at the end. ‘Fogger’ is a pure six-minutes riff fest, the title track is just a high-octane rock and roll number, and then ‘Curse of the Red Tide’ takes goes off the beaten track into ballad territory featuring lyrics around dolphin’s crying before morphing into a galloping rocker. On paper it sounds like a parody, in reality, it’s a great listen.
A complete mish-mash, unpredictable, and at times just weird. In lesser hands this would have easily been a mess, but here all the disparate parts are not only stitched together in a way that somehow works, and given a send of epic drama. How many songs about Orcas are there out in the world? And how many this good?
‘Shipswreck’ and ‘The Ballad of Deep Sea Diver’ see the Seagullmen at their most cinematic; when the Cave-meets-Morricone horns and unhinged vocals meet, and are probably the best moments. Originality is hard to come by these days, but there are very few other bands making Heavy Metal oceanic western soundtracks these days. I’m not saying if you play it backwards while watching ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ it synchs up perfectly, but you never know.
Legend of the Seagullmen doesn’t make sense. It does, however, rock hard. Probably too weird (and too early) to talk about being a contender for album of the year, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
Grab your diving suit and harpoon.