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Album review: The Drift – Seer

The South African metal scene is a melting pot of styles and creative directions, with the modern bands pushing boundaries farther than their predecessors. There is now a burgeoning prog metal faction that has reared its head in the past few years, one that looks to grow exponentially and with great creative experimentation, and that houses bands with a hungry look in their collective eye. The Drift came together in 2012, born from jam sessions by musicians that had made their mark with previous groups and looking for something new within a groove/death/sludge metal cocoon. From these meagre beginnings was born a fully formed band that had all the ideas ready to go from day one, from album themes, a defined identity, hell, even a badass logo.

Their primary focus was a three-album concept known as the Deluge trilogy, hitting hard with 2013’s ‘Dreams Of Deluge’ and 2015’s expansive ‘The Mountain Star’, and here we have the final part of the epic triumvirate, ‘Seer’. Already the album artwork denotes a darker, lusher portrait and highlights the intricate music housed within. There is certainly a lot going on musically, with quite an introspective vision that bounces between light and shade, but that doesn’t detract from the ultimate metalness of the record. The riffs are a ten-tonne hammer of distortion and bloody fury, released only through soaring solos and meticulous leads, and the band lay waste with behemoth-like intention.

Songs like Day One, Reclaim This World, and the title track hit home with the finesse of a baseball bat, but the impact is honed by the embellishments and creative construction. Other tracks such as Don’t Forget To Breathe, Adrift, and Decider enter into more of a melodic, ethereal arena, and it is here where The Drift really shine – with their collective song-writing experience, you can see the various influences seeping in that add up to the band’s unique sound and outlook. And hidden near the end of the song cycle is the delightful A Passage In Time, a sweet acoustic instrumental that allows the listener a respite before the rather epic and monolithic album-closer, I Dream Of Deluge, an apt and brooding end to what can only be described as South Africa’s finest metal trilogy to date.

The band are totally in-sync with each other, from Louis’ barking vocals to the neck-snapping precision of the drums, and the album works seamlessly from beginning to apocalyptic end. Where they plan to go from here is only up to them, but you can be damn sure that if they continue, it will be something worth checking out.

‘Seer’ will be the album that other South African bands will have to measure up to, because it really is a beyond-professional son-of-a-bitch record, a collection of music that roars with pride but can purr like a kitten when it needs to. If you’re looking for some extreme proggy sludge that alternates as a straight-up metal record in 2019, you’ve found what you were looking for, and then some.   

★★★★✩

Seer is out now.

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