Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 2/21/2006
posted on 2/2006 By:
If Torture Killer’s debut sounded uninspired, things have certainly changed in this fivesome’s camp, because Swarm is groovy, crunchy, and played with such intense tightness that Six Feet Under fans might as well trade allegiances and start waving the Finnish flag.
Also serving as the album’s introduction, the title track is pleasantly morbid and instrumental laden with killer riffs. In other words, it’s the perfect soundtrack to kicking ass or pumping iron, neither of which I do often enough, but I do find it works quite well to occupy time in between throwing socks into the washing machine. “Forever Dead” is equally pummeling, but without the extremely killer and intricate riffs, though near the song’s end guitarists Jari Laine and Tuomas Karppinen trade off licks like a two-man death machine, creating this insane maelstrom of groove and rib-snapping crunch. Along with first single “Multiple Counts of Murder,” “A Funeral for the Masses” is one of Swarm’s highlights, one hypnotically evil riff permeating its entirety like the smell of rotting flesh. Unfortunately, the album, barring “Sadistic,” tends to drag on the latter half, likening itself more to the mediocrity of “Forever Dead” than the inspired riffing and impressive tempo changes found on “Multiple Counts of Murder.”
Fans of SFU, Obituary, and Cannibal Corpse should have a fun time with this. Swarm doesn’t flirt in the least with tech death, preferring the plodding elements of Obituary and the groove of Six Feet Under to chaotic noise farts. It should be noted, however, that the album suffers a bit from Barnes’ inability to write anything particularly interesting or shocking and belt it out with vigor or passion. Age has certainly taken its toll on his voice. That said, he sounds impassioned and inspired enough on songs like “Multiple Counts of Murder” and “Sadistic” to turn them into suitably anthemic and chorus-driven tracks, so he couldn’t have done too horrible a job. While Swarm won't make my year-end Top 10 List, it will rank as one of '06's better death metal releases, and fans of the aforementioned bands should definitely pick it up.
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