Review: Swordwielder

Swordwielder Demo

Demo -12 on cd cover artThere’s nothing like impending irrelevance to get a person motivated. A friend sent me a copy of the demo by Gothenburg, Sweden’s Swordwielder last year sometime. I’ve been meaning to knock out a review for some time now. I’ve finally gotten my act together, mostly because I serendipitously discovered a) that they signed to a label from Hawaii called Cubo de Sangre (http://www.cubodesangre.com/), and b) they’re supposed to have a full album come out at some point this spring. So it’s probably for the best that I get this thing posted while it still matters, to the extent that it mattered in the first place.

The vast majority of Swedish music that is listened to around the bunker falls into two distinct categories: either d-beat/crust on the one hand, or post-Entombed death metal on the other. Swordwielder do not fit into either of those categories. Their style runs along more crusty/stench lines, with a bit of doom thrown in for good measure. This is deep, guttural stuff. It’s the sort of thing that makes you feel like the apocalypse is just around the corner, or that you’ve just not listened to that Prophecy of Doom/Axegrinder split enough times. A lot of this variety of music simply degenerates into chord after chord with some very depressed fellow screaming disconsolately over top of an impenetrable, churning mass. Swordwielder, by contrast, have a slightly more rocking approach. At times they even verge on melodicism, maybe not quite in the way that a band like Morgion did it, but still in a way that adds a bet of variety to what they’re doing. This is a lesson for other acts in this field. Sure, you can hold down tuned chords until the black sun sets, but unless the bulk of your audience is on heavy sopors that’s just not going to cut it in the long term. Swordwielder’s demo is about as pleasant a romp through these black fields as it’s possible to have. Sure, they have their moments of crushing power, but they also have elements that will bring forth the subtle head bob of enjoyment even from so jaded a listener as yours truly. Their demo is available on Bandcamp. I await the full LP with expectation.

Magadh

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