Signs of the Swarm – Absolvere (Unique Leader)

Monday, 27th September 2021
Rating: 7.5/10

Signs of the Swarm’s last album, 2019’s Vital Deprivation, was a marked improvement from the band’s more generic breakdown and chug-riff happy past.  Now emerging as a 3-piece, the band’s latest in Absolvere continues to work that same formula as its predecessor – incorporating more meaty death metal into their ‘core-driven palette.

While it’s still not a perfect meshwork, there’s a noticeable continued improvement towards a more seamless integration of throttling death metal riffs and elements, and less of a reliance on the deathcore staples, such as breakdowns and the extreme vocal range, even though said elements remain a piece of the act’s sound.  Some tracks are rather potent in their vision – standout “Dreaming Desecration” rumbles with force from the onset, providing a real aggressive edge to the riffs while incorporating some eerie synths and breakneck pacing.  Clean vocals take a seat at the table, which are used to great effect over some more melodic and atmospheric part of the track and makes it feel more haunting.  On the other hand, “Totem” effectively handles merging a very noticeable breakdown into a more subdued setting – it has the obnoxiousness you’d expect from the genre, but comes off a bit more pleasant as it has some build-up and atmosphere surrounding it.  That said, some tracks like “Revelations ov a Silent King” still travel heavily in some deathcore clichés (like the uninspired breakdowns), but there’s more successes here than failures, and for a release in the deathcore genre, there’s a lot to enjoy for fans outside of the market.

Absolvere still casts a positive light on Signs of the Swarm and their continued evolving vision of deathcore.  While there are still a few ‘rough spots,’ the band incorporates more of a solid death metal base into it that provides some added legs and distinct differences that keep them well above many of their current peers.

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