Opening track “Sea Sentinels” gets things underway and as is tradition it’s a brief intro, initially utilising subtle, haunting tones but transitioning quickly into a grunge-inspired riff-heavy affair, musically finding itself somewhere between ROYAL BLOOD and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. As I said it’s brief but it’s at least an indicator of the style to come. First track proper “Treading Water” follows and what’s immediately noticeable is the complete change of tempo; still with a rich grunge influence, and vocally in places you can hear Kurt Cobain being channelled through Russ, it takes on a ballsy, up-beat garage rock tone and its rawness allows for an honestly enjoyable listen. The solo is decent too, couple that with some smooth key changes, we have an early album highlight; a good start. “Devil Jonah” is an interesting take on the old Bible tale of Jonah And The Whale; a classic story of repent, rebuttal and defiance leading to punishment and consequence…here we go more into Jonah’s psyche as opposed to anywhere near any colossal marine mammals, though the deep rumblings of the bass-heavy approach are fitting regardless.
In keeping with their nautical theme we have “SS Naronic” which is a chilling precursor to the legendary Titanic…the true story of the ill-fated Naronic, which on February 11th, 1893 had left Liverpool to cross the Atlantic to New York, only to mysteriously sink, taking with it the lives of all 74 people on board. Inspired by letters in bottles from the crew, it’s a despairing song of hopelessness and the distorted guitar qualities add to the sense of mess and struggle that the crew and those on board faced as they ultimately awaited death. Elsewhere we have “Song Of The Storms”, a brief interlude of gentle acoustic harmonies; a musical interpretation of sailing upon smooth seas, the idea of calm before the storm and it’s slotted in nicely here. There are naturally some clichés too such as “The Lighthouse” and closing track “Davy Jones” which are staples in maritime song content, but the rogue wave so to speak comes courtesy of “Caligynephobia”. The recognised irrational fear of beautiful women, here Russ sings and shouts of former young Disney starlets over an intense punk-rock backdrop and it’s utterly bizarre…I mean I’ve learnt a new word but, other than that…why? Essentially what we have here is a gritty, grunge-fuelled concept album and if you like that sort of thing, you’ll likely find something of value here but personally, I had my heart set on being jolly rogered by some ALESTORM-esque pirate rock and more naval innuendos than a Captain Pugwash marathon. Why is all the rum gone? Because I bloody drank it all…disappointed, by a severe lack of swashbuckling.