Filipino-Italian hardcore band, the Seeker, releases new album.
by rick olivares
In a recent article that we wrote for ABS-CBN News, we mentioned a couple of Filipino bands who have found their audience abroad – thrash metal band Dreaded Mortuary and Singapore outfit, Tormentress that features Cebuana guitarist Gwen Cañete. Both have albums released by foreign labels and have performed in festivals abroad.
This week, let’s check out the Filipino-Italian four-piece hardcore outfit from Milan, Italy, the Seeker.
Founded by Filipino Michael Dee who plays guitar, the band used to be wholly Filipino but in recent years has become – to borrow the description of its band leader -- “more United Colors of Benneton” owing to a more ethnically-diverse outfit. Aside from Dee, bassist Eddu is Filipino. Pounding the skins is Italian drummer Covaz while lead singer Dominik hails from Slovakia.
The Seeker released with their third album last this past June (and was only available in Manila through local distribution label, Delusion of Terror last August 13) titled, “Malaya”. And boy are they really pissed off. “Malaya” features 13 angry but veiled songs performed at a blistering pace. The band rails injustice, oppression, and people who wage war and kill in the name of religion. “Kapatid” is the one song on the album (it is in English despite the Filipino title) where while the lyrics are somber and tender, the delivery finds the band going on an all-out sonic assault. Even when they are feeing introspective, they are pissed.
When you look at the album, the band doesn’t say anything about themselves. They want you to listen to the music and what they have to say. They even feature a diatribe from defunct Chicago hardcore band, MK Ultra, about the state of the punk and hardcore scene that they feel has strayed from its Do It Yourself ethic and angry roots that the Seeker embodies. The song “We Should Have Quit Years Ago” is an answer to MK Ultra’s manifesto as it relates the trials and hardships of an underground hardcore band traveling across Europe. The title refers to their being free to do what they want – (the punk DIY ethic) – having the freedom to ride that van and play music that is known for being edgy and taking artistic shots at society’s ills (“Shall We Tanz” which is a jab against extra judicial killings and religious fanaticism).
And that means something to the lads from the Seeker (Mike on guitars and Eddu on bass are the two Filipinos with the band), Covaz on drums, and Dominik on vocals) who are all active in direct action protest and in various political groups in Europe.
This brings me back to the Ramones’ eighth album, “Too Tough to Die” that was an answer to the burgeoning hardcore scene in America back in the mid-1980s. The seminal New York punk rock band out of Forest Hills, Queens also had to deal with all the issues of poor sales and not catching a break while the bands they influenced such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash found success. That album was a throwback to their earlier angrier sound.
And “Malaya” has that back to the basics vibe; hardcore-wise. And that is what makes the Seeker’s third album, at least in my opinion, something that stands alongside angry punk rock albums with hard-biting social commentary such as the Clash’s “Give ‘Em Enough Rope”, Refused’s “The Shape of Punk to Come”, Earth Crisis’ “Firestorm”, and First Blood’s “Occupation (Silence is Betrayal)” to name a few.
If you’re into hard-edged hardcore, this is what you seek.
(If you want to order this album, inquire at the Delusion of Terror distro on Facebook. There are few copies available locally).