This Gift is a Curse – All Hail the Swinelord (Season of Mist)

Sunday, 22nd November 2015
Rating: 8/10

Of the areas that can currently be explored with the black metal lens, one ripe for the taking is that of hardcore/metalcore (old school metalcore, not the Gothenburg-inspired stuff). There’s an interesting dynamic to the whole mix, and there’s only a select number of bands that really seem to have a grasp of how the mechanics work together. All Hail the Swinelord lays a pretty good foundation for others to follow.

Of course, there’s more to the band than just tossing in black metal with some hardcore elements. There’s some sludge (always helpful in this regard), death, and slight post-rock and d-beat touches to add to the texture. The strongest feature is how they never seem to pigeonhole themselves into one corner. You have full-out assaults such as “Old Lies” or “New Temples” that at times are reminiscent of Anaal Nathrakh in their intensity, but lean towards more melody and atmosphere on songs like the rich closer, “Askrådare.” Others, like “We Use Your Dead as Vessels,” incorporate both sides of the band into one sinister track. The melodies that the band crafts can sometimes sneak their way in, from the black metal side, like in “Rites,” and suddenly surface to bring a track in new directions. From beginning to end, one thing is assured though, it’s a caustic mix that will keep you coming back for repeat performances.

Balancing both the unsettling and the esoteric, All Hail the Swinelord will keep you on your toes. Surprisingly consistent in execution and transition, This Gift is a Curse really commands an understanding of the foundations for their sound and utilizes them to full effect. Easily worth investigating if you are into the more experimental side of the blackened genre.

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