Written by: The Administrator
Like many of our music-blogging contemporaries, this particular scribe does, indeed, fuck with Soundgarden. As luck would have it, I also fuck with Vancouver's ever-evolving Seer, whose latest effort, Vol. 6, caught eyes of several Villagers with its dark and delicate take on doom. Thus, finding out that the two have been combined by way of glorious tribute was enough to elicit a (rare) grin on this three year anniversary of Chris Cornell's death. Seer's cover of "Room A Thousand Years Wide" is a heartfelt homage to one of their most beloved heroes--and, beyond that, it's a damn good track.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Covers of well-known acts always have the potential to flop in a big way. After all, when the source material is legendary, how can one even begin to compete? In this case, however, I think Seer made a very smart choice in choosing "Room A Thousand Years Wide," rather than a more iconic Soundgarden single. This track lives and breathes by that lurching guitar, and by god, Seer certainly know how to harness a monolithic riff. They absolutely crush this thing, keeping it comfortably light-footed and spry, rather than sinking into fuzz. Meanwhile, the chorus itself, which has admittedly never been a favorite of mine, genuinely shines when in the hands (larynx?) of Bronson Lee Norton's somber-yet-melodic delivery. The cry of "tomorrow begat tomorrow" is doomy, intrinsically so, and the fresh take here is honestly delightful--far more interesting than a straight attempt at angsty Cornell emulation. The harsher vocals are a wonderful touch as well. All told, there's a sense of forward momentum, but also a sense of yearning and melancholia--a combo that Soundgarden habitually nailed back in the day.
In covering "Room A Thousand Years Wide," one ultimately needs to make a choice: do you include that chaotic saxxy outro, or do you keep things a little more straightforward? Here, Seer play to their strengths and keep it simple, resulting in a track that feels like it exists comfortably, instead of trying to make a statement. No doubt about it: Seer do this track justice. Normally we don't include artistic statements in the confines of a review, but here, it feels only applicable. In closing, then, we employ the words of Seer:
"We had intended to record the track since the beginning of the band, years before Cornell left us. Soundgarden is one of our biggest influences. Even through our stylistic shapeshifting from album to album, we’ve pulled inspiration from their music. We grew up in the 90s, our foundations were laid in that era. It was a generation of iconic voices, and every time one of those voices leaves us, that era passes a little more into memory. It always hurts when your heroes die, but Chris’ death might hurt the most."
Dedicated to the memory of Chris Cornell
7/20/1964 – 5/18/2017
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!