Label: Dullest Records
Release date: November 23, 2012
Swarm of Arrows sonic signature is big, beefy, and burly, and recalls on certain levels, Georgia’s Mastodon and Kylesa, along with the brutish sense of Oakland’s High On Fire. Not bad company to be in. The guitars are thick, the vocals coarse, and the melodies lumbering. This Philadelphia quartet brings it heavy and without apology.
The debut album, The Great Seekers of Lesser Life opens like a plodding beast, manhandling its way through dense foliage. “Alive Like Death” hammers the listener with its weight while discussing the trendiness of a life lived through apathy. The chorus spirals up before dropping back into the morass of pummeling riffage. Adding extra punch, the band tapped Will Yip (Cradle of Filth, Blacklisted, Circa Survive, Title Fight) to produce.
This might well be a perfect soundtrack for the dense bleakness of battle (ala 300) with each element the band lays down blocking out the sun like, as their name states, a swarm of arrows raining down upon your soul…and flesh.
Tracks like “The Sky Will Save Us All” and “Little Marching Vipers” just seem to build and build to some dark apex that turns out to be a ledge from which to plunge into the abyss. Then a track like “Rustmaker” opens like a new dawn only to turn sinister and foreboding. There simply is no escape, yet you don’t wish for one. You are drawn inexorably towards the impending freedom of the crushing atmosphere. Release through surrender.
Guitarist Greg Frisenda leaves his mark all over the record but in a satisfyingly subdued way. he never overplays the moment, and the performances are that much stronger for his restraint. His stand out moments include “Floaters” and the album closer, “Breath of the Hourglass”.
The highly melodic groove of “Hollowcast” is joyously addictive. “Keeping you awake at night, I’m the beast you keep inside, buried deep beneath the cracking shell…” vocalist/guitarist Keats Richards toys with the listener in twisted glee.
Buried near the end of the album like a psychotic relative hidden away at family functions is a another pit behemoth, the punkish, “Damage Generator”. Stop your mumbling, you sick bastard.
With The Great Seekers of Lesser Life, Swarm of Arrows has delivered up a caliginous slab of monolithic metal that seeks to club you upside the head and pillage through your open cranium. This is a prodigious and welcome debut from a promising talent.
Fans who want a free taste can go to the band’s Facebook page and download the track “Alive Like Death”. They can also go to the band’s Bandcamp page and get a free download of Swarm of Arrows self-titled EP.
RIYL: Converge, Mastodon, High on Fire, Kylesa, Clutch, of just damn fucking good heavy metal \m/