Seeker: Unloved

A few words to preface; this album could have been good. Ultimately, a lack of  vision condemns this disc to whatever the internet equivalent of the “used” bin is, but we’ll get to that later. Victory records, for better or worse, is intimately tied to northeast hardcore, which arguably gave rise to metalcore, and we all know what happened to metalcore, so let’s just leave it at that. If you spent any time enjoying new school hardcore in it’s heyday, you caught enough stray spin-kicks to the face from Spin-kick Mike at Sea Sea’s to last several lifetimes. You probably still hate sXe kids who’d threatened to beat your ass for smoking a cigarette outside a venue. Pre-Imprint Vision of Disorder canceling so many live shows you began to wonder if they were a made-up band…

Following a pretty organic fusion with faster and more technical elements of metal, new school hardcore turned into metalcore around the turn of the century. Initial offerings had potential, but eventually the songwriting sensibilities of many of these bands began to appeal to a more… “ridiculous” audience and metalcore gave way to mallcore and scene dreck and the last decade or so has given rise to a cadre of children who look like Enuff Z’nuff pomeranians, crab-walking through the charts with songs about myspace and how much of a bummer homework is. Dipping a toe back into what could be called a more roots oriented, and considerably more artistic take on the genre, it would be difficult to say if many acts have learned from the sins of the past, however. Metalcore acts still seem incapable of understanding dynamic. Music really needs to be about more than screaming and cramming as many janky, angular riffs and wank-happy solos as you can into every single goddamned song. Seriously guys, it’s okay to stop for a few seconds. Play something quieter for like ten seconds and the heavy parts sound that much louder. It’s not that difficult a concept to grasp.

Coming off like Between the Buried and Me had a really boring baby with Meshuggah, Unloved is exactly what this kid would be. A perpetual try-hard, always picked sorta last for kickball. The lunch lady always gives him the lukewarm slice of pizza. Gets straight C’s and goes to community college for 2 years. Marries the first girl that blows him and even at his funeral, his friends find it difficult to say overtly remarkable things about him as he’s lowered into his grave wearing a Converge shirt. This record is utterly forgettable. To be fair, there are a couple of moments where this premie does thrash about in the incubation chamber. The title track has a few squalls of guitar noise that sort of indicate like a turning car that it’s about to make a pit stop at the amusement park, but instead it’s just some jerk who forgot to turn off the blinker after he switched lanes. The trick is repeated toward the end of “Dominance”, and similarly goes nowhere. Interesting bits of atmosphere, in their way, but you’re so bludgeoned over the head with “SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM, DJENT DJENT DJENT WIDDLY WIDDLY TICKA WEEE” for the rest of the album that these little hanks of ornamentation don’t come off as subtle nods to noise rock minimalism, but more like the aborted fetuses of something that could have gone somewhere actually interesting if Seeker weren’t so hell-bent on being angry at everything in the universe forever, like some kind of pissed off He-Man on a ‘roid rampage. Seeker absolutely “Chris Benoit’d” this LP.

As for technical merit, the playing is great, but it’s completely uninspired and one dimensional. The vocals, particularly, are a great source of annoyance. Towards the end of the disc the urge to shut the thing off from ear fatigue is consuming and the vocals contribute heavily to that end, in both production style and delivery. That visceral reaction in lieu of the relatively bland offering at hand, at least, contributes another quarter of a point or so to the overall score, potentially. More often than not, however, Unloved sounds like Slipknot if they could play better. “A for effort”, as the saying goes.

Fans of this kind of thing will no doubt love it, and the Deaf Sparrow switchboard is sure to be flooded with an extra helping of grammatically incorrect death threats for the foreseeable future, but seriously; better luck next time guys. This one’s a Snoozer.

Seeker Official Facebook

Written by Mort Subite

Seeker: Unloved
Victory Records
2 / 5