A horrible hack

Swarrrm

Nise Kyuseishu Domo

Year Released: 2004
Format: CD
Label: HG Fact
 
Reviewed by Kunal Nandi on Jun 13, 2007
NOT to be confused with The Swarm, Swarrrm (not a misprint) are a Japanese band that has been going for a fair while. This is their second album, coming out after a series of EP's, splits with the likes of Narcosis and Bloodred Bacteria and an appearance on a Relapse compilation, all of which are excellent, and all due no doubt to their open-minded attitude to the international scene.

Though they are often tagged as "grind", to simply call them that would be doing Swarrrm a great disservice. I'd say that they nicely occupy the area between Discordance Axis and Envy. That's not a lazy journalistic cop-out based solely on the fact that they all feature Japanese people. It's a highly complimentary comparison with two bands who are/were at the absolute top of their game in their respective fields. Much of the time, Swarrrm do play it very hard and very fast, but it's hardly a straightforward blast-fest. The sheer level of invention is overwhelming, even after repeated listens. The opening track, for example, lulls you in with some highly unexpected strummed mandolin, much like the theme from The Godfather before literally exploding into some full-on epic grindcore. When they shift into slower territory, it resembles Envy's most frenzied moments, like the payoff after one of their slow build-ups. Not that Swarrrm are slavish copyists - they really make the sound their own.

I think the title loosely translates as "another false messiah", but that's about all you'll be able to discern from this. Swarrrm's vocal attack will really make or break your opinion of them. This album was recorded at several different times and locations, with two different vocalists, which gives the whole thing a lack of cohesion strangely in keeping with the totally nuts structure of the music. The amazing thing is that, not only are the two guys totally distinctive from each other, but they're also distinctive from most vocalists out there. One guy has a deep, gross, guttural roar, like Sean Ingram (from Coalesce, fool) going too fast. The other guy is totally drunk. That's the only word for it. Even if he was "singing" in English, there'd be no hope of making it out. You can tell he's going flat out though as he goes into a thorough coughing fit at the end of one of the songs. In case you can't tell, I think he's brilliant.

Truly mind-expanding.


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