Band: Signs of the Swarm
Label: Unique Leader
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
FFO: Brand of Sacrifice, Lorna Shore, Angelmaker
The slam genre as a whole has never caught my attention in an interesting way, but I've liked it when bands have incorporated those slamming moments in a song. It’s bands such as Ingested, Within Destruction, and now Signs that I began to enjoy only after they left their brutal slam phase and ventured into more Deathcore elements. With that being said, Signs of the Swarm never grabbed me on their first couple albums. I found them a bit too fundamental for my taste in heavier sounds. Their previous release, Vital Deprivation, was the first time I heard some songs that had me liking them. I didn't love the album, but in my view it was many steps in the right direction for the band and my own personal enjoyment. Now their latest release, Absolvere, has the band reaching a new peak in my opinion both in production and writing.
From the beginning of ‘Hymns’, I was already captured more than I had ever been by an intro from these guys. That feeling remained for the song, and honestly, the album. The speed, diversity in instrumentation, and constant turns within the songs kept me on edge at all times. Even when I was anticipating a breakdown, it always delivered a notch heavier than expected. The real surprise about this LP was what came during ‘Dreaming Desecration’ and the closing track ‘Death Whistle’ - singing. Knowing this band, it completely took me off guard. Being that a feature wasn’t listed, I can only assume it was one of the band members. As for my thoughts after digesting it, the cleans actually fit well. It’s subtle and light, almost like it’s just part of the atmosphere instead of a full blown chorus considering the screams are right there with the singing most of the time. If this was something we heard on every track, then I think it‘d be weird and unfitting. They incorporated it well. The dirty vocals are absolutely vicious of course. Especially with headphones on, you can really hear the texture of his voice. Every pitch low and high has its own feel.
Halfway through comes one of my favorites here, ‘Nameless’. The song as a whole is really cool, but it’s the extended breakdown that really gets me. Usually a breakdown isn’t my main attraction in a song but considering the last 2 minutes are 3 breakdowns and some blast beats put together, it’s glorious.
The title track is always an interesting one to come to on any album because each band tends to have their own take on how a title track should go. For this one, we get a cool, atmospheric instrumental that feels more like an interlude; a break from the fast paced crushing music before and immediately after.
The last song ends things as they began. Leaving me just as happy with the final moments as I was with the first.
The features came through with a great job. I ended up liking Alex’s part more than expected because I’m not a huge Despised Icon fan, but he crushed it. Once again one of my favorite metal vocalists shows up, Ben. He caps off ‘Blood Seal’ with a hefty breakdown.
Absolvere definitely doesn’t get by without it’s brute force slamming moments. Whether it be most of the song such as ‘Revelations of a Silent King’, or just a moment here and there, they love sticking to their roots. I just think they do it in a much better way on this album. The brutal Deathcore influence coming through spices a lot of it up. I can say I have takeaways from each song here, instead of only a few. Easily a front to back listen to have in my rotation and a staple in their discography.
For the first time, I anticipated a release from Signs of the Swarm, and I was not disappointed. They fulfilled, and perhaps topped my expectations. There’s no reinventing the wheel here, or breaking boundaries. Signs have simply unleashed abilities that they always possessed and went outside their usual comfort zone. Something to at least admire.
Strongest Song: Hymns of Invocation, Boundless Manifestations, Nameless, Death Whistle
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/signs-of-the-swarm/1109559990